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Schoodic Institute offers workshops in celebration of Citizen Science Day

Winter Harbor – Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is offering three separate training opportunities for studying birds, seasonal change, and biodiversity in celebration of Citizen Science Day, a national event to highlight incredible discoveries made by volunteers of all ages.

The programs are an opportunity to participate in science while advancing research and monitoring of Acadia’s plants and animals.

All workshops feature indoor classroom and outdoor field sessions. The trainings are free, with an option to purchase lunch, but registration is required.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife launched the Maine Bird Atlas in 2018 to document the birds that call Maine home during the summer and winter months. Participants in this in-depth training will learn how to contribute observations to the Atlas in preparation for the upcoming breeding season. It will involve an overview of the project, including background and objectives, explain various ways to participate, and take a hands-on look at how to use eBird (the database for collecting Maine Bird Atlas sightings).

A second training workshop is being offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant Signs of the Seasons program, which is helping scientists document the local effects of global climate change. Participants are trained to observe and record the phenology (seasonal changes) of common plants and animals living in their own communities — a citizen science project that fills a gap in regional climate research. Volunteers across New England record the growth of milkweed, the nesting of robins, and more. “The goal is to build a rich, detailed record of the region’s seasonal turns, a resource too costly to build without a network of citizen volunteers,” said Signs of the Seasons coordinator Elisabeth Maxwell.

The third training opportunity is about how to document biodiversity with iNaturalist, a mobile application and social network created by National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences to catalog and track the biodiversity of the world. “Participants take photos of plants, animals, fungi, etc., or signs of organisms like scat, bones, or feathers, and upload the image along with date and location, providing a record of a species in a place and time,” said Libby Orcutt of Schoodic Institute. With 16,135,181 observations made to date, iNaturalist is helping researchers study biodiversity over time across the globe.

Schoodic Institute works with the National Park Service and other partners to provide citizen science opportunities in Acadia National Park, other public lands, backyards, and also regionally, nationally, and internationally. Schoodic Institute was one of the founders of the Citizen Science Association, the host organization for Citizen Science Day.

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