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Extension and Sea Grant Collaborate to Offer Citizen Science Training

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens recently co-hosted a training session for volunteer community scientists, where they learned how to make phenological observations of common plants. The Signs of the Seasons citizen science project is a statewide effort that recruits 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 University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant will be hosting a series of in-person workshops for those interested in participating in the project. The first training session is scheduled for April 4 at Stimpson’s Point in Brunswick, with additional workshops 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 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. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation individuals can contact Keri Kaczor or Beth Bisson via email or phone.

By Samantha Jones

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