Community Science

Community Science

Learning and contributing to science in the outdoors is another way you can help AMC's mission. 

Engaging hikers in hands-on monitoring can make a big impression both in their learning and in the data they collect. Through activities along the trail and at AMC high huts, AMC can provide opportunities to learn about air pollution’s impacts to visibility, plant flowering times and relationship to climate, snow distribution in mountains, light pollution at night, and mercury pollution in dragonflies. Join us on your next hike by learning, observing, and recording.

Photograph Flowers and Fruit on your Hike with iNaturalist

Building on our long-term Mountain Watch plant monitoring efforts across the Northeast mountains, AMC is now using the iNaturalist app to document the timing of flowering and fruiting along mountain trails. Using your GPS-enabled mobile device and the iNaturalist app you can take photos of plants as you hike. The app automatically dates and geotags (location information) the image and when the images are uploaded it is all accessible for us to use in analysis. AMC scientists, along with other iNaturalist users, can review your photo submissions, and confirm or assign the phenology (flowering or fruiting status) for our targeted indicator plants. Our goal is to understand how climate change impacts mountain plants and their reproductive phenology. Observations are needed every spring, summer, and fall to build out relationships between plant activity timing and each year’s weather conditions. Search for “AMC” on the iNaturalist projects page and join us today!

You can also help AMC track plant life along the Appalachian Trail in iNaturalist. Learn how here.

The Dragonfly Mercury Project

The Dragonfly Mercury Project (DMP) is a national-scale monitoring, research, education, and public engagement initiative. The project is currently managed by the National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey, with collaborative engagement from the Appalachian Mountain Club and Dartmouth College. Over the past 10 years, we have assessed mercury concentrations in dragonfly larvae in more than 500 water bodies across more than 100 U.S. national parks and other federal, state, and local protected areas, and engaged more than 4,500 public participants. Implemented under a community science framework, the Dragonfly Mercury Project enlists community scientists who work with National Park staff to collect dragonfly samples in the nation’s lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and wetlands. AMC supports the national effort and is working to engage youth across the AMC region in this program.

In 2021, we are launching the Merrimack-DMP program. AMC will lead teacher professional development and community partners in engaging youth and other community scientists in sampling dragonfly larvae to determine relative risk around the lower Merrimack River watershed. This river and its tributaries have had a legacy of pollution, dating back to early industrialization. Lowell and Lawrence, environmental justice communities, are the focus of this work. Local youth, K-12 students, and community scientists will share their work in 2022.

Community Snow Observations

AMC is joining the Community Snow Observations project to improve observational data of snow depth in Northeast mountains.  Northeast snow is disappearing too soon every spring, but how does that vary from open fields to forested trails? With the help of community scientists, we are collecting data to document trail-side snow depth and improve our understanding of snow across mountain landscapes. Learn more on how to get started here.

Globe at Night

What does your starscape look like? You can participate in Globe at Night wherever you are and measure and submit night sky brightness observation. Learn about the importance of dark skies and ways we can reduce light pollution. Visit AMC’s Maine Woods and nearby Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (U.S.), which was designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2020, and compare Globe at Night observations there to other locations.

Action Center

Hard science, focused advocacy, and a whole lot of hands-on work have defined AMC’s conservation mission from the beginning. But it’s your support that carries the day in community meeting houses, in Congress, and in untrammeled wilderness alike. Learn more about our conservation initiatives and how you can contribute through our Conservation Action Network.

Take Action