PlantWatch is part of our national NatureWatch series of volunteer monitoring programs designed to help identify ecological changes that may be affecting our environment. A joint venture between Nature Canada and Environment Canada, PlantWatch partners include representatives from each province and territory. Our goal is to encourage Canadians of all ages to get involved in helping scientists discover how, and more importantly why, our natural environment is changing.
The PlantWatch program enables “citizen scientists” to get involved by recording flowering times for selected plant species and reporting these dates to researchers through the Internet or by mail. When you submit your data electronically, it’s added instantly to Web maps showing bloom dates across Canada, so your observations make a difference right away! Canadians are fortunate to live in a country with a wide variety of plant species. By participating in PlantWatch, you can learn more about our country’s botanical diversity, while helping scientists track the effects of global warming and climate change in Canada.
The plants chosen for this guide bloom every spring, largely in response to rising temperatures. However, some species are flowering almost a month earlier than they were a century ago! Scientists believe climate change is affecting blooming times — a trend that is continuing. They predict that the greatest increases in temperature will be in Western and Northern Canada, while some parts of Eastern Canada actually may be cooling. By reporting on the PlantWatch species found in your community, you can help researchers discover how common plants are responding to climate change — and track where changes are taking place in Canada, and at what rate.
You can also tell us how you plan on becoming a voice for nature and keep a close eye on the plants in your area, by taking the My Nature Canada pledge. Visit mynaturecanada.ca and share the nature places you care about the most and plan to protect!