The Thousand Eyes Project: get involved!

Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 11:38:25 -0300 (ADT)
From: Christopher Majka <>
To: Sustainable Maritimes <>
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In the year 1900 Dr. Alexander Howard MacKay, who was the superintendent
of schools in Nova Scotia, began a pioneering initiative to record
information on seasonal phenomena, a discipline of biology known as
phenology. The project lasted for 23 years and involved participants from
as many as 1,500 schools in the province. 

The result of this research is a treasure trove of information of
significance not only to Nova Scotia and Canada, but for the whole world.
If one is interested in issues pertaining to climate change (as many
people are these days) then one of the methods of being able to determine
the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions is to compare the current
situation with that at some point in the past. As it transpires the
information compiled by MacKay a century ago is the only such data set in
the world. Consequently Nova Scotia is in the position of being able to
make a unique contribution to a global understanding of climate change.

With this in mind the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, with partners
Environment Canada: the Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network and
the Government of Canada Climate Change Action Fund, have decided to
reestablish Dr. MacKay's initiative and have founded The Thousand Eyes
Project to compile current information on this subject. We have selected
52 phenomena that we are interested in monitoring across Nova Scotia for
the next several years. These include observations related to the timing
of the migration of certain birds, the blooming of certain flowers, the
calling of Spring Peepers, certain weather phenomena (frosts,
thunderstorms, snowfalls) etc.

The good news is that you can participate!

Anyone can become a registered Watcher at our website,
and submit observations there. The website has a lot of information on the
project and why we are undertaking it and on Alexander MacKay and his
work. There is also an on-line field guide, which describes in detail the
phenomena we are interested in monitoring. We have also inputted all of
the data gathered by Alexander MacKay's students and there are very
sophisticated mapping and graphing capabilities on the site.

This means that you can, for instance, select any phenomenon (such as the
timing of the arrival of American Robins in the spring) and (on a
county-by-county basis) see when the average dates of arrival of these
birds were between 1900-21. You can also see in any given year, when
Robins were first observed in the spring across the entire province of
Nova Scotia. As contemporary data is entered into the database you'll also
be able to see how these historical trends compare with the present day.

We invite you to visit the website and look at the information and
materials there. You can also register to be a watcher (to register click
on the red bar that says "New to this site? Start here.") to get started.
All observation for the project are submitted via the website.

For those who are interested we also have a printed version of our field
guide which will shortly be available at the bookstore of the Nova Scotia
Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS,  B3H 3A6.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Best wishes,

Christopher Majka

Christopher Majka  <>
Coordinator: The Thousand Eyes Project

      Watching Nova Scotia Nature

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