Become a citizen scientist and support AMC Research. Download iNaturalist on your smart phone and join our Northeast Alpine Flower Watch project.

This year the AMC has launched the Northeast Alpine Flower Watch, a smartphone oriented extension of Mountain Watch, our long-term monitoring program tracking how plants are responding to climate change. Since 2004, AMC has been monitoring the timing of plant seasonal events like leaf-out and flowering in conjunction with weather conditions. From day one of this project we’ve relied on the help of hikers to tell us what they’ve seen along the trails. By taking photos of flowers on your hike this summer, you can help too!

Labrador Tea flowering in the alpine zone.
Photo by Allison W. Bell

The Northeast Alpine Flower Watch tracks the effects of climate change by gathering flowering and fruiting time data with the help of hikers in alpine areas. AMC has partnered with the Adirondack Mountain Club, Green Mountain club, and Baxter State Park to achieve this goal in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Using the iNaturalist app, your mobile device will automatically geotag the image, assigning its location, and if you’re not sure of the name of the species of plant you have observed, the community on iNaturalist, including AMC’s own scientists, will help confirm or identify the plant. You don’t need to be an expert to identify key species and contribute to this project.

AMC’s scientists will use photos of our target plants that you upload, confirming the plant identity and coding their flowering and fruiting status. We will focus on key study regions like the White Mountains, Maine Woods, and along the Appalachian Trail to understand seasonal development in the context of climate change. The more photos that are posted, the more we can capture the large variability that is inherent in mountain environments.

Check out the AMC Flowerwatch site for updates. Join our Webinar Tuesday April 2 at 7 pm or Thursday April 4 at noon to learn how to use iNaturalist, get tips on taking quality photos, learn about our target species, and more. Advanced registration is required. Can’t make it? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording.