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Welcome to PlantWatch New Brunswick

"Using the life cycles of plants to monitor climate change"

What is PlantWatch?

Plantwatch is a nationwide phenology survey program which studies changes in the environment. Sounds complicated? It isn't! Phenology comes from the Greek “phaino” (to appear or show) and “logos” (to study). It simply means the study of seasonal appearances such as the blooming of flowers, or the migration of birds.

How can I get involved?

PlantWatchers are asked to observe one to twelve common plants and trees and to record key events in their life cycles, such as when they first bloom or when they shed pollen.

Follow this link for photographs and descriptions of the species studied here in New Brunswick

Do I need to be an expert?

PlantWatchers come from all walks of life, from students to golden-oldies. From environmental club members to avid walkers. From eco-warriors to plant lovers.  If you have the time and the inclination we would love your help. Of course, if you are an expert, you are welcome too!

What happens to my observations?

They are brought together, with those from all of the other Canadian PlantWatchers, and are analysed by many people including Environment Canada's Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network Coordinating Office (EMAN CO) , the Federal Government, Universities, botanical gardens etc. They use your observations to determine how the timing of these flowering events is changing over time and across New Brunswick and Canada. Because blooming times are affected by temperature they are then used to determine how, if at all, the climate is changing in New Brunswick and Canada as a whole.

Where do I record my observations and what do I do with them?


a) Click on the link for this form for a PDF fillable form. Don't forget to email your results to [email protected]

b) Contact Rowena Hopkins (PlantWatch New Brunswick Co-ordinator) at [email protected] and ask to be sent a copy of the same form as a Word document.

Sending your results

a) Record your results online on the national PlantWatch website.

b) Email your form back to Rowena Hopkins at [email protected] and I will add your results to the online database for you.

c) Post your form to PlantWatch NB, 469, Route 530, Grande-Digue, NB, E4R 5E1.

What if I have other questions?

Get in touch by email at [email protected]

Tell me a little about the origins of PlantWatch

Since 1996, Nova Scotia PlantWatch has collected spring flower dates for 12 plant species at 200 sites in the province, thanks to many observers in schools and in communities. 

The interesting point in this province is that data can be compared with records collected by Alexander MacKay between 1892 and 1923. MacKay was the school superintendent in Nova Scotia during this period of time and he motivated schools to record phenological data for times of flowering, ice formation, bird arrivals and departures for several years.

This data is very important because it shows that even though Canada's climate at the time was generally colder,  most of the flowering dates are not that different from those today. In the west of Canada, however, they are quite different. This may be linked to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean.

MacKay's  observations fit with the climate changes detected by more sophisticated equipment showing that simple technology can be just as effective.

Are we really moving towards a cooling or a warming period in our region? What are the impacts of such changes? We need to start watching our plants to find out what they can tell us about our changing environment.

New Brunswick PlantWatch was started in 2002, the year of the nationwide launch of PlantWatch, with just 15 participants. That number has increased each year but we still need your help. With enough observations from PlantWatchers in New Brunwick we can try to determine whether the climate here is changing and if so how much, and what effect is it having?

Newsletters, Brochures, Forms and Plant Descriptions

Read current and past newsletters and bulletins here

Spring 2005 newsletter

Winter Bulletin 2004

Download the PlantWatch NB brochure here

Printable (folds into a booklet)

Where can I find out more about PlantWatch and the nature of Eastern Canada?

More about phenology projects in Canada and worldwide

PlantWatch - Detailed website about the national PlantWatch program

NatureWatch - find out more about PlantWatch and other Canadian phenology programs

PlantWatch Alberta- visit the website of PlantWatch Alberta and the Devonian Botanic Garden of the University of Alberta

UK Phenology Network - Read more about Phenology projects in the UK

Naturewatch Europe - European Phenology project

Life Cycles - American Phenology website with lots of detailed information and links

PlantWatch in the media

Telegraph Journal - Promotional article by Erin Dwyer

More about our supporters

Nature Canada - Find out more about Nature Canada, one of the supporters of PlantWatch.

Environment Canada's Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network Coordinating Office - find out about EMAN CO who are one of the other national co-ordinators of PlantWatch.

More about the flora and fauna of New Brunswick and Eastern Canada

Flora and Fauna of New Brunswick - photos of New Brunswick plants and animals

Les Fleurs Sauvages d’Acadie - French Language website with hundreds of photos of wild New Brunswick flowers and lots more

Andy's Northern Ontario Wildflowers -  Some great photos and lots of information about Northern Ontario's plants, many of which are also found in New Brunswick.

UNB Forestry - photos and information about New Brunswick's trees.

Natural history of the Northwoods, Minnesota - Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky...lots of detailed information about each species listed.

Acadian Forest Campaign - The Acadian Forest is one of the six most endangered in North America. Here's what we can do to help preserve it.

Canadian Biodiversity Web Site - A huge selection of Canadian flora and fauna and their distribution plus some photos.

More about other New Brunswick Naturalist/Environmental associations and working groups

NB Federation of Naturalists - New Brunswick organisation dedicated to promoting a better understanding of our environment and the flora and fauna within it

New Brunswick Botany Club - Bilingual website for the New Brunswick Botany club.

New Brunswick Environmental Network - webzine with the latest in environmental news, links and resources.

Nature NB - Website dedicated to the study, enjoyment and conservation of nature and natural resources in the Province of New Brunswick, Canada. Lots of useful links.

Moncton Naturalists Club - Moncton based club which meets monthly to discuss everything from birding to raising frogs.

Association des Naturalistes de la Baie de Bouctouche -Bilingual website for Kent County club dedicated to the apprecation of nature and the environment.

CLUB DE NATURALISTES DE LA PÉNINSULE ACADIENNE - French language website for Acadian Peninsula based naturalists club.

The Kennebecasis Naturalist Society - English language website for the Kennebecasis Naturalists club.

The Meduxnekeag River Association - English language website for the The Meduxnekeag River Association which was formed in Woodstock, New Brunswick in 1995 as a community-based non-profit environmental organization. Its role is to promote, encourage and assist in the protection, restoration and responsible use of the Meduxnekeag River Watershed.

So as you can see, PlantWatch allows everybody and anybody to get involved in cutting edge science and to enjoy the beauty of the countryside as well. What could be better!?!  




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