Climate Change Citizen Science Project

Clonal Plant Project

Interested in helping out with a project related to climate change?
We are looking for people to plant native shrubs and record observations on them every year!

Background:

This project involves the planting of genetically identical plants in different regions of PEI to monitor the climate differences with relation to growth and flowering/fruit timing. This is a long term project in conjunction with PEI Climate Lab at UPEI and the PEI Watershed Alliance with two main research questions:

1) How much does annual plant growth and flowering/ fruit timing differ across the island?
2) How much does annual plant growth and flowering/ fruit timing differ moving forward in relation to a changing climate?

Two species of native PEI plants have been chosen, Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) and Heart Leafed Willow (Salix eriocephala) and with the aid of staff at the J.F. Gaudet Nursery, genetically identical (clonal) plants are available for distribution for this project. By planting these shrubs under similar conditions across the island and then monitoring for annual growth and the development of flowers and fruit each year for a minimum of 10 years, you will be helping to understand how climate changes are impacting our island ecosystems.
Interested in helping with this project?

This is a citizen science project and we are looking for people who enjoy observing the natural world. All you need is a place to plant these shrubs and a willingness to observe them for the next 10 years. We will provide you with all the necessary training and documents.

Ideal Conditions for the shrubs:
– Planted in clusters of 2 or 3 plants
– Full sun or partially shaded areas
– Open areas with minimal tree canopy
– Fairly moist soil
– Minimal salt spray
– Moderately windy areas
– Both species of shrubs can be planted on the same site
– Easily accessible and visible area so that annual measurements and observations can be made for a minimum of 10 years

Time Commitment:

Time commitment of these plants involves measuring growth once annually and monitoring for flowering during a window period each year. You will be provided with information and training on how to measure and record growth and flowering as well emails and friendly reminders will be sent out annually.

Next Steps:

If you are interested, please let Mary Finch, at ecologist@peiwatershedalliance.org or 902-394-0999 know and she can arrange that the clonal shrubs get to you.
Dogwoods will be available at the PEI Watershed Alliance AGM on May 7th and should be planted the week of May 16 – 22nd while Willows will be available starting in June and should be planted by June 15th.

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