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Become a citizen scientist - Volunteer opportunities with Clean Annapolis River Project

The Clean Annapolis River Project is looking for citizen scientists for their species at risk work.
The Clean Annapolis River Project is looking for citizen scientists for their species at risk work. - Contributed
ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, N.S. —

Spring is in the air, which means the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) team is ramping up for the coming field season.

As water and air temperatures warm, wood turtles will start to make their way out of the water, where they spent the last six months. The first eastern ribbon snake of the season has already been spotted by researchers at MTRI. Migratory birds, such as the olive-sided flycatcher and Canada warbler, will soon make the journey north to seek their breeding habitat in our forested wetlands, and tracking data shows that monarch butterflies are slowly beginning their northward migration up the eastern seaboard.

There are many plant and animal species in Nova Scotia that need our help in order to avoid or reverse population declines. There are currently 63 species listed under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act. The recovery of these species requires collective effort from all stakeholders and the public. CARP is hoping to engage residents within the Annapolis watershed area in a variety of collaborative projects to help some of the species at risk that call the Annapolis River watershed their home.

Wood turtles are one of the species that CARP is most actively involved with. Since 2012, the organization has delivered a program aimed at helping to identify wood turtle habitat and provide education and support to landowners and managers in order to protect, restore or enhance these areas.

On April 14, CARP is hosting a volunteer training session for anyone interested in participating in visual surveys or nesting monitoring for wood turtles. No experience is needed and participants of all ages are welcome. Training will take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Wilmot Community Hall. Interested individuals can contact CARP to register.

Experienced birders are being sought to conduct breeding bird surveys that target species that use forested wetlands as nesting habitat. Data from these efforts will be shared with Dr. Cindy Stacier of Dalhousie University to support her long-term research efforts. This information will also help CARP to determine strategic areas to target for future stewardship efforts. For those with a passion for birds, but not a passion for mornings, there will be chimney swift and bank swallow survey opportunities to support efforts by Bird Studies Canada.

CARP is also hoping recreational anglers in the watershed will be willing to act as citizen scientists, collecting catch data for Atlantic salmon or collecting scale samples from American shad and striped bass to be used to support research efforts by external partners. Angler kits are available at the CARP office to provide instructions on how to participate in these initiatives.

Anyone interested in learning about species at risk related or other volunteer opportunities can contact CARP’s communications and outreach co-ordinator Katie McLean at katiemclean@annapolisriver.ca or (902)-532-7533.

Volunteer training and citizen science program information can also be found on the CARP website, www.annapolisriver.ca.

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