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Mountain Watch

Mountain Watch
Ammonoosuc Lake, Crawford Notch
  Image: Credit: Dennis Welsh, Courtesy of AMC

Mountain Watch is a group of ongoing trail-side citizen science programs that track reproductive (flower/fruit development) plant phenology of a small set of alpine and forest plants in the U.S.’s Eastern Appalachian mountains and other northeast areas. The programs include Alpine Flower Watch, Forest Flower Watch, Visibility Volunteers and Fall Foliage—all part of the alpine ecology and climate science research being conducted by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) in the northeast mountains.
 
AMC encourages hikers, families, school groups and conservationists to help scientists make observations along the trails on the timing of plant flower and fruit development for inclusion in a long-term study to understand how shifts in climate trends may impact mountain flora.
 
In addition, AMC's Mountain Watch in partnership with the National Park Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the National Phenology Network have launched A.T. Seasons. The A.T. Seasons project brings together different parks and organizations that are actively monitoring seasonal changes in plants and animals (phenology) along the Appalachian Trail. Using Nature’s Notebook or a customized mobile app observers at all levels contribute to a comprehensive dataset with the goal of understanding the relationship between phenology and climate change along the Appalachian Trail.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Georgia Murray, Staff Scientist
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: The Appalachian Mountain Club
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • LOCATION: New Hampshire - U.S.’s Eastern Appalachian mountains and other northeast areas.
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    Register for an account on the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Web site.

See more projects in New HampshireFreeFieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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