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PlantWatch Nova Scotia Melanie Priesnitz, NS PlantWatch Coordinator PlantWatch, Citizen Scientists, Climate Change and what it means to Nova Scotia How.

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Presentation on theme: "PlantWatch Nova Scotia Melanie Priesnitz, NS PlantWatch Coordinator PlantWatch, Citizen Scientists, Climate Change and what it means to Nova Scotia How."— Presentation transcript:

1 PlantWatch Nova Scotia Melanie Priesnitz, NS PlantWatch Coordinator PlantWatch, Citizen Scientists, Climate Change and what it means to Nova Scotia How YOU can get involved… Citizen Scientists help Scientists discover how Climate Change affects nature

2 What is a scientist? Traditionally images such as this may come to mind

3 Not all scientists wear lab coats! ‘Citizen scientists’ Integrating science into the community

4 Benefits of Citizen Scientist programs Track trends & data on local, regional and national levels An activity for all ages, great for grandparents and kids Great way to become familiar with local flora & fauna Improve partnerships and networks within communities

5 Joint Effort: + institutions/organizations in all 13 provinces/territories Purpose: involves Canadians of all ages in the observation of nature helps scientists discover how and why plants are being affected by change climate encourages stewardship and respect for nature, raises awareness of science and the environment What is PlantWatch?

6 What do PlantWatch citizen scientists do? Go outside in spring and observe: first and mid bloom dates of flowers leafing out dates of trees record this information on a simple form report their findings to the PlantWatch website

7 Phenology –The recording of data pertaining to the natural world and how it is affected by climatic conditions. Swedish born botanist and father of plant taxonomy, Carl Linneaus was one of the first in the world to begin recording phenology in the 1700’s. Phenology Phrenology

8 NS School kids in the 1920’s recorded phenological events Dr. Alexander Howard McKay, Superintendent of Schools NS 1900’s, decided every school child should become a naturalist! For 23 years school kids recorded over 200 natural events annually. We still have the data today!

9 How to record PlantWatch phenology Select a site – watch same site each year Mark your territory – so you don’t forget Get outside – watch spring happen Record the data – the form is simple Send in via mail/internet – you’re done (until next year…)

10 PlantWatch Observation Form Name of Plant: _____________________________________ Flowering Phase First Bloom (month/day/year): __________________________ Mid Bloom (month/day/year): __________________________ Leafing Leafing (month/day/year):_____________________________ Plant Location Location Name:_____________________________ Closest city or town: _____________________________ Province/Territory: _____________________________ Latitude: ___ ° ___ ‘ ___ “ N Longitude: __ ° __ ‘ __ “ W Elevation (if known): ___________(metres) Habitat Type [ ] Deciduous forest [ ] Marsh, bog, wetland [ ] Coniferous forest [ ] Farmland [ ] Mixed forest [ ] Residential garden/lawn [ ] Tundra/barren [ ] Schoolyard [ ] Grassland Optional Details Sun Exposure: [ ] sunny and open area [ ] in half shade [ ] shaded all day Plant is located on: [ ] flat area [ ] gentle slope [ ] steep slope Slope faces (circle one): N NE E SE S SW W NW

11 15 Species in NS to Watch Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) Mayflower (Epigaea repens) Trembling Aspen(Populus tremuloides) Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) Red Maple (Acer rubrum) Weeping Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa) Tamarack/Larch (Larix laricina) Bluets (Houstonia caerulia) Star-flower (Trientalis borealis) Clintonia (Clintonia borealis) Rhodora (Rhododendron canadense) Purple Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

12 Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) Also known as: crackerberry, dwarf cornel Bloom time: May - June General - Low, woodland plant, grows in patches. Flowers & Fruits - Flowers are tiny and green or cream-coloured, each plant has a single cluster with four showy white bracts that look like petals. The fruits are red berries that appear later in the summer. The flowers exhibit explosion pollination!

13 To Observe When flowers open, black central dots are visible, (stigmas). First bloom: when the first flowers are open in the observed plants (3 places) Mid bloom: when 50% of the flowers are open in the observed plants. Select a typical 1m patch of plants. Watch the same plants each year.

14 Larch (Larix laricina) Also known as: tamarack, hackmatack Bloom time: April - May General - Medium-sized conifer; grows up to 20 m tall. Larch is our only native conifer that sheds its needles annually. Flowers & Fruits - Male and female cones can appear on the same branches, observe male cones only for PlantWatch. Male cones: small, less noticeable mounds of yellow-brown pollen sacs that wither and fall after shedding pollen. Female cones: pinkish-purple mini-cones about 1 cm long.

15 To Observe First bloom: when the first pollen is being shed by the male cones on the observed tree (3 places). Mid bloom: when 50% of the male cones are abundantly shedding pollen. Leafing: when the tufts of needles are lengthening considerably and starting to spread open at the tip (3 places).

16 Red Maple (Acer rubrum) Also known as: swamp maple Bloom time: March - April General - Small to medium-sized deciduous tree with grey bark. Flowers appear before the leaves. Flowers & Fruits - Flowers emerge from dark red buds in early spring and form dense, short-stalked clusters. Male and female flowers usually grow on different branches of the same tree, but they can appear on separate trees. Male flowers are red and long Female flowers are yellowish green and small Observe only the male flowers for PlantWatch.

17 To Observe First bloom: when the first male flowers are open on the observed tree (3 places). Mid bloom: when 50% of the flowers are open on the observed tree. Leafing: when the first leaves push out of the bud and unfold completely (3 places). Remember look for male blooms before leaves

18 To Observe 1 metre square patch of dandelions at least 10m away from buildings, watch same patch each year First bloom: when the first flowers are open in the observed plants Mid bloom: when the first seed-head opens, forming a white, fluffy ball of seeds Make sure your patch is not mowed until you have made your observations.

19 Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Also known as: pis-en-lit in french Bloom time: April – June + sporadically throughout season General - Common plant, introduced to Canada from Europe for food and medicine. Flowers & Fruits - Flower heads are yellow and the flower stem is hollow and leafless. After full bloom, white, fluffy, round balls of seeds appear. The parachuted seeds are blown away by the wind.

20 How to get started Go to: Click on ‘submit observations’ and register yourself as an observer

21 Who looks at the PlantWatch data? Researchers across Canada studying climate change and phenology Liette Vassieur, Robert L. Guscott, Peta J. Mudie Monitoring of Spring Flower Phenology in Nova Scotia: Comparison over the last century. Humboldt Field Research Institute Northeastern Naturalist 8(4): Elisabeth Beaubien Plant Phenology in Western Canada: Trends and links to the view from Space. EMAN Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Journal. Volume 88 Nos. 1-3 Melanie Priesnitz 2010? Plant Phenology in Nova Scotia – data trends from For this to become a reality I need YOUR help!

22 NS PlantWatch Data collected to date

23 Atlantic Canada & Climate Change Atlantic Canada may not see the same warming as central, western, and northern Canada, however predictions show that secondary effects may be particularly significant: rising sea levels extreme weather events more sever storms coastal erosion changes in rainfall patterns insect pests over-wintering increased forest fires

24 Will plant and animal communities be able to adapt quickly enough to survive ? ? ? Climate change could have a wide range of impacts on plants, wildlife, and humans

25 Help scientists to understand affects of climate change Be a part of history Learn about plants and nature Get outside for fresh air & exercise Learn about science and the environment, teach others Become more observant of the world around you Have fun and spend time with family & friends By getting involved with PlantWatch you will:

26 Melanie Priesnitz, NS PlantWatch Coordinator Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens, Acadia University ? ?


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