An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

Create a ClimateWatch Trail

2019 to December 2020: We're calling on groups in South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and Northern Territory to develop new ClimateWatch monitoring trails with us. Involve your local community in citizen science phenology monitoring at a location that is important to you.

View all ClimateWatch trails across Australia via Google Maps here!

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 phenology 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 ClimateWatch Program Manager, Nadiah Roslan at with any questions and to discuss associated costs.

Create a ClimateWatch Trail process

ClimateWatch project planning checklist

Download and use this checklist to plan actions and deadlines.

Contact us and provide your ClimateWatch trail submission 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, if you do not wish to use the free ClimateWatch mobile app. Note: we recommend recording observations through the mobile app as it reduces the risk of missing critical phenology information, and it saves paper!

  • 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 prepare a 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 and Android.

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 for download on the trail page.

  • Map of trail with the location of the indicator species labelled, with your logo included. This will be available on the trail webpage. You may wish to provide your own high-resolution map, if available.

  • 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.

  • Ongoing technology support costs associated with data hosting, app and web support, data validation, and data submission to Atlas of Living Australia. All validated data is made publically available to Atlas of Living Australia biannually, however raw data can be provided upon request.

Educational, non-profit or community groups are provided significantly subsidised charges. Contact us for more information: or