Join Camas Watch

The Kootenay Camas Project wants citizen scientists to help us learn more about the timing of key seasonal events (phenology) of camas. Together, we can discover how these plants are responding to changes in their habitat and a changing climate.

Camas Phenology

Camas buds appear early at the center of the leaves early in the spring. The flower stalk grows upward and the buds turn a vibrant blue before opening.

Camas flower bud emerges early in spring.

Camas flowerbud emerges

Camas bud

Camas bud just before it blooms

 

First flower

First flower

Camas flowers from the bottom up. The first bud to break is lowest on the stem.

Full Bloom

Full Bloom

Half or more of the flowers are open.

Fruiting

Fruiting

The green capsules contain developing seeds.

When ripe, the capsules open and the black seeds drop from the plants.

SeedDispersal

Ripe capsules with seeds

Seed dispersal

Dried empty capsules

How to Participate

There are many ways you can participate in Camas Watch. Download instructions here: Be a Camas Watcher

    1. Send us a picture
        Email or mail us a photo of a single camas plant with date and location. We will add this to our database to track camas phenology.
      1. Fill in an observation form.
          Email or mail us filled in forms to add to our database.
    2. Join iNaturalist
    3. Submit historic photos of camas
      • Photos can be a valuable source of historic ecological information. If you have pictures of camas, and know the date and place they were taken, please consider sending them to us for analysis.

 

What is Phenology?

The study of the timing of natural events is known as phenology. Plants and animals take their cues from the local climate to determine when they start natural events such as flowering or migration. Plants use temperature, precipitation, daylength and available sunlight to time their yearly blooming.

Phenology can help us understand the health of species and ecosystems. Some plant species in Canada are flowering almost a month earlier than they were a century ago, and scientists believe that climate change is affecting bloom times.

Other Phenology Watch Programs

Plantwatch

PlantWatch is part of the Canadian NatureWatch series of volunteer monitoring programs designed to help identify ecological changes that may be affecting our environment. PlantWatch partners include representatives from each province and territory. The 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.

Project Budburst

As Project Budburst says: “Timing is everything.”

Every plant tells a story. Whether you have an afternoon, a few weeks, a season, or a whole year, you can make an important contribution to a better understanding of changing climates. Project BudBurst is a network of people across the United States who monitor plants as the seasons change and submit ecological data based on the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants. If you would like to make a meaningful contribution to understanding environmental change, join our rapidly growing community today! We are looking forward to learning more about the stories your plants can tell.

USA National Phenology

The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) monitors the influence of climate on the phenology of plants, animals, and landscapes. We do this by encouraging people to observe phenological events like leaf out, flowering, migrations, and egg laying, and by providing a place for people to enter, store, and share their observations. We also work with researchers to develop tools and techniques to use these observations to support a wide range of decisions made routinely by citizens, managers, scientists, and others, including decisions related to allergies, wildfires, water, and conservation.