Citizen Science for Understanding Berries in a Changing North
Winterberry is a new citizen science project where University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists and community volunteers investigate how shifting seasons could affect when berries are available to animals and people.
In the far North, springs are coming earlier, summers are warmer, and fall is arriving later. Shifting seasons may have an effect on when berries are available to people, birds, and small mammals that eat them. Many of Alaska's berry-producing plants hold on to their fruits into the winter and even spring, and these berries are very important to animals such as voles, foxes, and grouse.
Will a longer time between when berries ripen and when the snow falls mean more berries will rot or get eaten? Will this leave less for the animals that depend on these berries in winter and spring?
We invite you to join the individual volunteers, K-12 classes, after school programs, parents and children - anyone interested in berries - throughout Alaska and northern regions of the globe in answering these questions. Berry tracking is simple and fun!
Dr. Katie Spellman
Dr. Christa Mulder
Dr. Elena Sparrow