Opportunities for Community Members & Experts

Plant Phenology Volunteer Opportunities

The Coastal Plant Phenology Research and Monitoring Project is a collaboration between MABRRI, Milner Gardens & Woodland, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. This project will help to understand if plant species and ecosystems within southeastern Vancouver Island are vulnerable to climate change by studying plant phenology (the timing of cyclic biological changes) in coastal native plant species. Understanding the timing of plant phenological events allows us to begin to understand how individual species and ecosystems are responding to climate change now and to evaluate potential shifts in their growth and development response to future climate projections.

At Milner Gardens & Woodland there are 3 sites where phenophase data is collected on 11 different native plant species. Some examples of phenophases recorded are bud break, leaf size, canopy coverage, flower development, and ripe or unripe fruit. Data collection occurs weekly during the growing season and monthly in the fall and spring when phenophase development progresses at a slower rate.

This project depends on our citizen scientists to help with data collection at Milner Gardens & Woodland throughout the growing season. If you are interested in joining us in the field to observe and record phenological changes in our species, please contact Jessica Pyett, MABRRI Projects Coordinator, at Jessica.Pyett@viu.ca.

Forage Fish Volunteer Opportunities

MABRRI is currently working with groups of citizen scientists from Cowichan Bay to Qualicum Beach, including groups on Gabriola Island and Thetis Island, to identify when and where Pacific sand lance and surf smelt (forage fish) are spawning. These groups collect sediment and process sediment samples from local beaches, which are ultimately looked at under a microscope to identify if there are any embryos present. By working with our citizen scientists we are able to expand the project geographically, covering a much greater extent of the coastline in a shorter period of time. Ultimately we are aiming to collect a long-term dataset for our stretch of the Vancouver Island coastline, as well as for the local islands. All of the data is submitted to the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Strait of Georgia Data Centre; therefore, it is openly available to anyone that is interested in looking at it.

If you or your stewardship group are interested in contributing to this continuously growing project, please contact Haley Tomlin, MABRRI’s Assistant Research & Community Engagement Coordinator, at Haley.Tomlin@viu.ca for more details.

Every two months a newsletter highlighting the work that the citizen science groups have done is released. You can view past issues of The Forager below:

Forager: Issue #14 - June 2021

Forager: Issue #13 - April 2021

Forager: Issue #12 - February 2021

Forager: Issue #11 - December 2020

Forager: Issue #10 - October 2020

Forager: Issue #9 - August 2020

Forager: Issue #8 - June 2020

Forager: Issue #7 - April 2020

Forager: Issue #6 - February 2020

Forager: Issue #5 - December 2019

Forager: Issue #4 - October 2019

Forager: Issue #3 - August 2019

Forager: Issue #2 - June 2019

Forager: Issue #1 - March 2019

Technical Advisory Committees

MABRRI is currently developing Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) for some of its student research projects. TACs will involve community knowledge holders and Vancouver Island University faculty and will function as informal, arms-length advisory boards on certain projects.

Get involved in a Technical Advisory Committee

Hands on Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve Map