Training for Seasonal Change: Community Scientists Learn to Monitor Flora in Coastal Maine

Extension and Sea Grant to host trainings for citizen scientists

A group of community scientists gathered for a training session hosted by the 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. The project aims to recruit volunteers to monitor changes in more than 20 indicator species in Maine, such as rockweed, milkweed, loons, butterflies, and lilacs.

During the training sessions, participants learned about phenology, the study of cyclic and seasonal changes in plants and animals. They were taught how to make scientific observations, practice making those observations, and were equipped with the tools and knowledge to set up their own observation sites. 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 helps build a detailed record of seasonal changes in Maine, which is valuable for scientists and resource managers studying the effects of climate change. The workshops are free to attend but 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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