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Resources for Observers

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Volunteers learn about Signs of the Seasons at at training session.Welcome to Signs of the Seasons! We invite you to become part of our citizen science project. Together, we are examining the impacts of climate change from ground zero: our own backyards, fields and parks. This is a new era. Scientific advancement depends on citizen involvement. The mounds of data needed to advance our understanding of changing phenology cannot be gathered by scientists alone. Your input is essential! Join us for hands-on training. Check this page for information on sessions in Maine and New Hampshire. Educators, we welcome you to bring Signs of the Seasons and citizen science directly into your classrooms.

Volunteers, you’ll need a few tools to get started and keep going throughout the seasons. Here, you’ll find what you need to record your observations and better understand the species you choose to follow.

  • Field Guide: Our training and field observation guide shows you how to set up your observation program. It includes detailed information on recording data and additional resources to help you get started. Please contact us for a copy.
  • Data Sheets for Field Observation and Data Entry: The Nature’s Notebook online database is hosted by USA-National Phenology Network. This is where Signs of the Seasons volunteers record their observations. These carefully organized sheets provide you with all the necessary information to successfully record what you see. Abbreviated phenophase definitions will help you stay on track. Please contact us to gain access.
  • Phenophase definitions: Get detailed information on the animals and plants you have chosen here.
  • Coastal Observers can access information specific to rockweed here.

News for Observers

Seth Benz is Director of the Bird Ecology Lab at the Schoodic Education and Research Center of Acadia National Park.Fall tips for bird observation: Seth Benz, director of the Bird Ecology Lab at the Schoodic Education and Research Center of Acadia National Park, discusses the importance of bird observation as the seasons turn. He says detailed information on fall behaviors can help scientists puzzle out the effects of climate change on different species. Benz notes that while animal numbers and locations are crucial, bird diet is also of great interest. See his tips here.

Picture of Lois Stack smilingObserving plants in fall: Professor Lois Stack of UMaine offers Signs of the Seasons volunteers helpful pointers as we move into fall, a season of dramatic change that offers many opportunities to see phenology in action. In fact, detailing changes to plant life is every bit as crucial now as in the spring.  See her tips here.