The Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia

AH McKay, Plant Phenology, and Early Citizen Science in Rural Nova Scotia, ca1895-1925

Acadia University Art Gallery, Wolfville
Thu. March 15, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Please join us for this free Lunchtime Learning session presented by Acadia Lifelong Learning.

Between 1895 and 1925, students and teachers across rural Nova Scotia recorded observations about the life cycles of more than 100 plants in their communities. These phenological observations were submitted with the school registers each year and compiled by AH McKay, provincial Superintendent of Education and an enthusiastic amateur naturalist. McKay’s ledgers are now held by the Nova Scotia Museum, to which he was an important early contributor, and have been used by climate scientists to study environmental change. This lecture will introduce plant phenology and tell the story of McKay’s remarkable early citizen science project, including the fascinating back-and-forth between project administrators and community participants about the relationship between scientific authority and local knowledge.

Dr. Sara Spike is a cultural historian of rural communities and the environment in Atlantic Canada. She received her PhD in History from Carleton University in 2016 and has recently returned home to Nova Scotia to lead the Eastern Shore Islands Heritage Research Project.
(902) 585-1434

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