June 15, 2024

Exploring the Cyclic and Seasonal Changes in Maine’s Natural World with Signs of the Seasons

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Extension and Sea Grant to host trainings for citizen scientists

A group of dedicated community scientists recently gathered for a training session hosted by Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to learn how to make phenological observations of common plants. The session was part of the Signs of the Seasons citizen science project, organized by University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant. This initiative aims to enlist volunteers to monitor changes in over 20 indicator species in Maine, including rockweed, milkweed, loons, butterflies, and lilacs.

During the training sessions, participants were introduced to phenology – the study of cyclic and seasonal changes in plants and animals. They learned how to make scientific observations and practice making those observations using specialized tools and techniques. Workshops are scheduled in various locations across Maine in April and May, with an option for a three-part webinar series for those unable to attend in person.

The data collected by volunteers through the Signs of the Seasons project is vital for building a comprehensive record of seasonal changes in Maine. This information is valuable for scientists and resource managers studying the effects of climate change. While workshops are free to attend, registration is required through 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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