Mountain Watch is a citizen science program engaging hikers in hands-on monitoring of air quality and climate change. Through activities along the trail and at AMC high huts, we provide opportunities to learn about air pollution’s impacts to visibility, climate trends in the mountains, and the impacts of recent climate change on plant flowering and fruiting times and other seasonal biological events.
Photograph Flowers and Fruit on your Hike
You can help AMC document the timing of flowering and fruiting along mountain trails and adjacent lands by using your mobile device and the iNaturalist app for iPhones or Android. By photographing flowering and fruiting plants with a mobile device, it automatically dates and geotags (location information) the image and that data is uploaded into the app – making it accessible for us to use in data analysis. Here are some basic instructions to get started.
The iNaturalist app can help you learn what plants you have observed while hiking and increase your knowledge about botany. AMC scientists will review your photo submissions to iNaturalist to assign the phenology (flowering or fruiting status) for our targeted indicator plants and merge the data with our ongoing Mountain Watch and AT Seasons project. Your contributions will add to the more than 839,000 plant submissions across the Appalachian and Northeast mountain areas in iNaturalist and provide interested researchers with important biodiversity information.
A.T. Seasons is an extension of AMC’s Mountain Watch program and a collaboration between AMC, the National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the National Phenology Network. This Appalachian Trail-wide phenology monitoring program uses standardized protocols and repeat plot-based monitoring to accumulate high quality data. Bring your knowledge of plants and love for the Appalachian Trail to A.T. Seasons trainings and contribute to this ever-growing trail-side data set! Learn more at www.usanpn.org/appalachian and/or contact our staff by emailing us at AMCMtnWatch@outdoors.org.
Poor air quality in the eastern U.S. directly affects hikers and others who recreate outdoors. Haze pollution, comprised of small particles, diminishes scenic views and can negatively affect respiratory and cardiovascular health. By participating in the AMC’s Mountain Watch View Guides program at our 4 high huts (Madison, Lakes, Galehead, and Greenleaf) your observations will become an important part of understanding how haze pollution affects mountain views and the recreational experience. Sharing your opinion on whether the visibility on the day of your hike was “acceptable” or “unacceptable” will provide resource managers with information on the value of clear views to the hiking public. Be sure to ask for your View Guide the next time you visit one of these four huts.