Signs of the Seasons is a citizen science program that engages children and adults in science through observation of plant and animal phenology. What is phenology? It is the study of the seasonal timing of recurring life events, such as animal migrations, insect metamorphoses and foliage changes. Many of these “signs of the seasons” have shifted as a result of a changing climate. Observation of what is happening and when in one’s backyard or local park helps scientists and managers answer questions that affect Maine’s forests, crops, and day-to-day lives. “Fishermen and farmers understand the timing of life cycles of plants and animals,” said Esperanza Stancioff, climate change educator for University of Maine Cooperative Extension/Maine Sea Grant program and co-coordinator of the program with Beth Bisson of Maine Sea Grant. “It is a part of their daily lives to observe and note changes. For example, lobstermen know when the lobsters generally shed.” Maine lobstermen were shocked last year to find lobsters shedding their shells in late spring, earlier than had been seen in recent history. Read the rest of the article.
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