Extension and Sea Grant Collaborate to Offer Citizen Science Training

Recently, coastal community scientists gathered for a training session hosted by the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. During the session, they learned how to make phenological observations of common plants. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant are now offering a series of in-person workshops for those interested in participating in the Signs of the Seasons citizen science project. The first workshop will take place on April 4 at Stimpson’s Point in Brunswick, with additional sessions to follow in Falmouth, Wells, Augusta, Camden, and Boothbay throughout April and May.

During these workshops, participants will learn how to make scientific observations of phenology, which involves studying cyclic and seasonal changes in plants and animals. They will have the opportunity to practice making observations and gain the knowledge and tools needed to set up their own site to observe and record changes in phenology. The Signs of the Seasons project is a statewide effort to recruit volunteers to identify and record changes in over 20 indicator species important for understanding Maine’s changing climate, such as rockweed, milkweed, loons, butterflies, and lilacs.

The data collected by volunteers in this project helps build a detailed record of the region’s seasonal changes, which is accessible to collaborating scientists and resource managers. The workshops are free to attend but registration is required on the program website. Individuals can contact Keri Kaczor or Beth Bisson via email or phone for more information or to request a reasonable accommodation.

By Samantha Johnson

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