Phenology Study



Young zhigaagawanzh (wild leeks) emerging in spring


GLIFWC is conducting a phenology study of treaty harvested plant species (also called “beings”) at two study sites in the Ceded Territories. Phenology is the study of cyclic natural phenomena such as the budding of plants, emergence of insects, migration of birds, and thawing of lake ice. Monitoring these seasonal changes on a long-term basis can provide insight into environmental changes associated with climate impacts.


Tribal elders and harvesters along with GLIFWC staff chose plant beings to be included in the study, which include giizhik (northern white cedar), ode’imin (strawberry), miskomin (raspberry), miinan (blueberry), baapaagimaak (black ash), zhingob (balsam fir), bagwaji zhigaagawanzh (wild leek), ziinzibaakwadwaatig (sugar maple), wewaagaagin (ostrich fern), wiigobaatig (basswood), and wiigwaasi-mitig (paper birch).


The study is in its second year of data collection and could provide a better understanding of how changes in the timing of the life cycles of some species as a result of climate change might impact traditional harvesting. GLIFWC scientists are recording weekly progress of each being throughout the growing season; we are also collecting traditional stories and observations of Anishinaabe elders and harvesters whose knowledge of these beings has passed through generations. The arrival of black flies has traditionally signaled the proper time for harvesting birch bark for canoes; will this indicator remain constant as the climate changes in the Ceded Territories?


Time lapse cameras assist the scientists by tracking spring and fall leaf changes. (To view the latest time-lapse footage, go to The GLIWFC Phenology study also relies on two weather stations which are recording data such as temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, and barometric pressure.


GLIFWC wants to hear about what you’ve been seeing. GLIFWC climate change staff are collecting phenological observations from around the Ceded Territories. Help us study phenology and climate change by submitting observations such as plants budding, animal sightings, unusual storms, or anything else at this link:


To read more about GLIFWC’s phenology study and how climate change may be affecting the life cycles of treaty resources in the Ceded Territories, go to Mazina’igan, GLIFWC’s quarterly newspaper:


“Remote cameras keep a close watch on the seasons”


“Ziigwan at hyperspeed: 30-second green-up in the Ceded Territory”


“Four seasons on the Brunsweiler”


“Weather stations now recording data for climate change phenology study”


“Weather stations now recording data for climate change phenology study”


“GLIFWC looks at climate change impacts on treaty resources”


“Ceremony introduces phenology study to forest”