Parks Canada’s new Coastie Initiative gets you in the picture with science

News release

Citizen-centred research with the University of Windsor will help monitor coastal changes at five national parks

October 15, 2021                           Gatineau, Québec                    Parks Canada Agency

When you take a photo of yourself, that’s a selfie. When you take a photo of the coast, that’s a coastie!

Parks Canada is launching the Coastie Initiative, a new citizen science program in five Parks Canada administered places. Pictures taken by visitors at these locations will help us monitor coastal change over time.

Cell phone cradles will be installed in specific locations at the coastal sites this year. To participate in the Coastie Initiative, visitors will be invited to either scan the QR code at the Coastie site, submit their photos to, or share their photos on social media using the #Coastie hashtag. Instructions on how to share photos will be on site at each Coastie research location. 

The photos will be analyzed and the data will be made available to the University of Windsor, who will use it to track coastal changes, such as shoreline retreat, dune erosion and recovery, storm surge and ice cover, vegetation structure, beach use, and rip current locations.

The program will launch in Prince Edward Island National Park, Fundy National Park, Kouchibouguac National Park, Point Pelee National Park, and Sable Island National Park Reserve. Between one and three Coastie stands will be installed at each site. Visitors will be able to participate even more in 2022 when more national parks join the Coastie Initiative. 

The Coastie Initiative was a winning project on the crowdsourced Innovation Competition for Parks Canada employees. The Innovation Competition was a contest to promote innovative solutions to natural resource conservation challenges. Employees from across the Agency had the opportunity to propose projects directly linked to one of Parks Canada’s conservation priorities.      


Additional multimedia

#Coastie stand installed at Brackley Beach, PEI National Park Photo credit: Parks Canada


“National parks are gateways to discovering, learning about, and connecting with nature and what better way to connect with nature than to participate in citizen science research. The Coastie Initiative is a fun and easy way for visitors to get involved in Parks Canada’s work and to help us better understand the complex and changing coastal ecosystems. I encourage visitors to seek out one of our Coastie locations, take a Coastie and share it with us.” 

Ron Hallman
President & Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada

Quick facts

  • Visitors will be invited to share their photos to social media with a site specific hashtag. For example, #CoastiePEINP for a site in Prince Edward Island National Park, or #CoastieSINPR for a site in Sable Island National Park Reserve. 

  • Climate change impacts to Parks Canada-administered places are complex, and the Agency is committed to ongoing research and understanding theses impacts. Parks Canada is working to integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation actions into our work.

  • The National Parks 

  • Located in New Brunswick on Canada’s Atlantic Coast, Fundy National Park encompasses 20 kilometres of dramatic shoreline along the Bay of Fundy. For visitors, this means exceptional sightseeing and unforgettable kayaking, not to mention a unique chance to explore the sea floor at low tide. 

  • Sable Island National Park Reserve is one of Canada’s furthest offshore islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean. This crescent shaped Island of dynamic rolling sand dunes is home to a wild horse population, the world’s largest breeding colony of grey seals, and species that are found here and nowhere else on earth. Together with researchers and partners, Parks Canada is actively engaged in work that will help us better understand the impacts of climate change on Sable Island while protecting ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk.

  • Spanning an area of 238 km2, Kouchibouguac National Park is a representative example of the Maritime Plain natural region along New Brunswick’s South-Eastern shore. It’s comprised of eight habitats, its most dynamic being its coastal habitat along the Northumberland Straight. Twenty-five kilometres of barrier islands shelter the park’s warm estuaries, salt marshes, brackish rivers, bogs and Acadian forest. In the spring and summer months, Canada’s largest Common Tern colony and the endangered Piping plover nest along the park's sand dunes.

  • Point Pelee National Park is found at the southernmost tip of mainland Canada. A ten-kilometre-long triangular sand spit jutting into Lake Erie, the park supports incredible natural diversity, including over 60 species at risk and critical habitat they depend on, and protects a large marsh as well as Carolinian forest and savannah habitats. The park’s 20 kilometres of sandy beach are facing accelerated rates of erosion and Parks Canada is actively engaged in regional collaborative work to find sustainable solutions to the threat of coastal erosion on the peninsula.

  • Prince Edward Island National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Canada, encompassing an area of approximately 23.84 km2. The park extends along the north shore of Prince Edward Island for approximately 40 km between Cavendish and the Greenwich Peninsula. In any given year, the amount of coastal erosion along the north shore of PEI National Park can be between 0.6m to 3m.

Associated links


Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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