New Brunswick Tribune

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Kouchibouguac National Park wants to turn its visitors into citizen scientists

Key sentence:

  • The concept for the project came from Larouche’s colleagues at the Prince Edward Island National Park.
  • Larouche hopes that people will participate by taking and submitting photos throughout the year.

Some visitors to Kouchibouguac National Park are seeking to become citizen scientists.

The #Coastie Initiative includes five national parks, one of which is the #Coastie National Park.

Taking a ‘Coastie,’ according to Samantha Larouche, public outreach education officer at Kouchibouguac, is a fun method for individuals to help document the changing coastline.

“So Coastie is a delightful mix of two words—coast and selfie,” she explained.

“Coastie is essentially a photo of the shore that is then uploaded and aids us in monitoring changes in the coast due to climate change.”

The concept for the project came from Larouche’s colleagues at the Prince Edward Island National Park, and the University of Windsor was brought in to gather and evaluate the data.

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Around Kouchibouguac, there are three cell phone cradles: one at Kellys Beach Boardwalk, one at Callander’s Beach, and one at Ryans Beach.

Visitors place their devices in the cradle, take a photo, and post it to coastiecanada.ca using a QR code. The phone cradle stands include instructions on them.

The goal is to track coastal changes over time using photographs collected at certain sites and viewpoints.

“The goal of the Coastie initiative is to get visitors involved in data collection. We know how much visitors like taking pictures, and we’d like to use that data for conservation purposes.” According to Larouche.

According to Larouche, the park has changed because of the increased intensity and frequency of storm surges.

Kouchibouguac National Park looking for citizen scientists | CBC News

The park’s conservation staff is keeping an eye on the implications of these changes in the hopes of finding strategies to lessen the effects of climate change. But, again, photographic surveillance gives useful data.

“The University of Windsor then has access to it and identifies some of the changes that we’ve noticed, and we’ll be able to see that shift in the images across the seasons and years,” she explained.

Larouche hopes that people will participate by taking and submitting photos throughout the year.

“We want to instil some stewardship between the public and the Parks Canada areas,” she said, “because once people are engaged in trying to safeguard a spot, they’re so much more eager to support us in maintaining the park’s integrity.”

Fundy National Park, Sable Island National Park Reserve in Nova Scotia, Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, and Prince Edward Island National Park have all put up coastie stands.

Dunes, salt marshes, woodlands, and beaches make up Kouchibouguac National Park.

Larouche hopes that the Coastie effort will aid in the preservation of everything the park has to offer.

“We hope that the photographs will awaken us to those changes and that we will see the differences right in front of our eyes,” she said.

“Because coastal erosion occurs slowly, we may not see it daily, but when we compare photographs with date stamps, we can observe a significant difference.”

Source: CBC

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