May Plant Count
The May Plant Count is a component of the annual May Species Count and is open to anyone with an interest in plants and flowering. The survey takes place between May 25 – 31 and focuses on documenting the flowering status (i.e., phenological stage) of native plant species across Alberta. The aim is to collect valuable plant data while encouraging stewardship and appreciation of the amazing natural areas Alberta has to offer.
With the advent of iNaturalist, new possibilities have opened to make the May Plant Count more efficient and to boost its value to science and conservation. By using iNaturalist for recording observations, participants in the May Plant Count contribute to the world’s largest biodiversity database, available at no charge to naturalists, educators, and researchers. The high profile of iNaturalist ensures that the data are used for conservation applications. In addition, iNaturalist provides many benefits to naturalists, which are summarized here.
The best way to submit observations to the May Plant Count is to use the iNaturalist smartphone app. But manual observations are still welcome (see below). If you are new to iNaturalist, please see our Getting Started Guide.
All plant photos submitted during the count period will contribute to the iNaturalist database. However, we encourage participants to take the extra step of reporting the flowering stage of plants that are in flower. To do this you will first need to join the May Plant Count project, which will add a flowering stage field to the iNaturalist app.
When determining the flowering stage of a given species, base your assessment on the entire patch you are observing, rather than on individual plants. But choose a single representative specimen when taking a photo. It is best to submit observations you are confident of, even if just one or two species, than it is to submit a large number of uncertain observations.
Thanks for your help! As ‘eyes of science’, you are reporting essential information on how plants respond to changes in climate. We hope you enjoy keeping your finger on nature’s pulse!