An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

Create a ClimateWatch Trail

We are calling on you to take notice of what’s happening in your neighbourhood and record what you see online.  With some simple planning you can create a ClimateWatch trail to involve your local community in recording at a location that is important to you.

This background document provides information on the contributions provided by Earthwatch and trail clients and the associated costs for establishing a ClimateWatch Trail. 

The guide below shows you the simple steps involved in creating your own ClimateWatch trail and is based on a demonstration trail created at Piney Lakes Reserve in Winthrop, Western Australia.

You can record observations as frequently as you like and walking a trail is great way to involve your friends, family and colleagues in discovering your local environment and contributing to national research.

On this page we have

  • a diagram demonstrating the workflow 
  • a planning checklist, including a Create A Trail form for you to submit to us 
  • recommendations for creating a successful trail
  • how to shortlist species for your trail
  • tips for selecting saved locations and
  • details on the services Earthwatch provides as part of a ClimateWatch Trail.

We want to make this easy for you and can provide assistance. Please contact us at with any questions.

Create a ClimateWatch Trail process

Create a Trail Process

ClimateWatch project planning checklist

Download and use this checklist to plan actions and deadlines.

Submit your completed Create a ClimateWatch Trail form to

Recommendations for creating a successful ClimateWatch trail

  • Collaborative project planning means everyone is involved from the start. Identify local experts early who can help with advice. These experts can include local government ranger staff, land managers and local volunteers from Friends of Groups, LandcareBushcare or Coastcare. If you have links to local indigenous groups you might be able to ask for advice on and information on calendar plants and animals and local language species names.

  • Ensure you have access to the planned trail site’s management plan, species list or flora and fauna list to determine which ClimateWatch species are present.

  • Choose a site with at least 5 ClimateWatch species in the management plan. This means you will have a good chance of recording something every time you visit.

  • Choose a site where you have 24 hour access (i.e. not a locked or secure reserve) so you can visit and record at different times of the day.

  • Choose a site with nearby access to a computer (could be a school, education centre, library, computer lab) so you can enter your observations online after walking the trail.

  • Use markers or signs to indicate the saved locations along the trail if you have trouble remembering the spots.

How to find ClimateWatch Species in a management plan for flora and fauna list

  • Visit and search by taxon group and your state (for example birds and WA).

  • Compare the bird list on ClimateWatch with the bird list in your management plan and write a list of ones that match for the trail location

  • Repeat this for the other taxon groups and submit the completed species list in the Create a ClimateWatch Trail form to

Tips for selecting locations that will be marked on your ClimateWatch trail map

  • When planning locations along the trail to record on specific plants or viewing and listening points for animals, walk the trail with a GPS a couple of times to confirm the locations and species you want to record on at those locations.

  • If there are multiple instances of plants in different soil types, include those so you can compare their flowering times and other phenological events.

  • If you don't have a GPS you can use a smartphone with the maps application by standing at the spot you want saved for a plant and share your location by email.  Here are instructions for Apple iPhone. 

What Earthwatch provides as part of a ClimateWatch trail

  • The trail webpage on the ClimateWatch website The page will include information about the trail, its location and your organisation.

  • Field guides of the ClimateWatch indicator species (both flora and fauna) to be monitored along the trail. Field guides will be available online on the trail page.

  • Map of each trail with the location of the indicator species labelled, with your logo included. This will be available on the trail webpage.

  • Recording sheet that includes the indicator species for each trail. This will be available for download on the trail webpage.

  • Communications about your trail and ongoing activities as part of the trail through our newsletter and social media to our user base.

  • Information required to develop ClimateWatch signage on your trail.

Cost for development of a trail (once-only) $1,500.00 ex.GST.

Optional services not included in the establishment fee (and excluding travel expenses)

  • An Earthwatch staff member attends the trail site to assist with locating and mapping ClimateWatch species

         $120.00/hour ex. GST

  • Workshops to train staff in ClimateWatch and phenology monitoring. A workshop would entail training by an Earthwatch staff member at chosen venue and demonstration at the trail location, up to 2 hours.

         $300.00 ex. GST