May 22, 2024 6:44 pm
Extension and Sea Grant Collaborate to Offer Citizen Science Training

In a recent training session, community scientists from across Maine gathered to learn how to make phenological observations of common plants. The event was co-hosted by the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and saw participants practice their newfound skills in identifying and recording changes in plant species.

Those interested in taking part in the Signs of the Seasons citizen science project can now attend a series of in-person workshops hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant. The first training session is set for April 4 at Stimpson’s Point in Brunswick, with additional sessions taking place throughout April and May in Falmouth, Wells, Augusta, Camden, and Boothbay.

During these workshops, participants will gain the knowledge and tools needed to observe and record changes in phenology, which involves studying cyclic and seasonal changes in plants and animals. They will also have the opportunity to practice making observations and learn how to set up their own site to study these changes.

The Signs of the Seasons project is a statewide effort aimed at recruiting volunteers to identify and record changes in over 20 indicator species important for understanding Maine’s changing climate. These include rockweed, milkweed, loons, butterflies, and lilacs. The data collected by volunteers helps build a detailed record of the region’s seasonal changes, which is accessible to collaborating scientists and resource managers.

These workshops are free to attend but require registration on the program website. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, individuals can contact Keri Kaczor or Beth Bisson via email or phone.

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