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Record what you see and contribute to community science

Whether you are already a keen observer of nature, or are just starting to take notice of those plants and animals around you, consider getting involved in a community science project this summer. There are many ways that observations from individuals can help naturalists, planners, city parks departments, and more!

We’ve got opportunities for you to take part in several projects taking place this summer, in Portland and in Scarborough. Stay tuned for programs and training sessions to supplement these surveys.

Portland: Riverton Trolley Park Meadow Survey

The City of Portland is making recreation, wayfinding, and biodiversity focused improvements to the Riverton Trolley Park. The park will receive a mountain biking skills course, improved park entrance, trailheads and ballfield, a new picnic shelter, seating and signage throughout, and a boost to the biodiversity of the park’s wildflower meadow, all funded through a combination of a federal grant, private donations, and municipal funds.

The Portland Parks department is working with Maine Audubon to boost biodiversity and habitat value in Riverton Trolley Park’s wildflower meadow by reintroducing native meadow plants in fall 2023 and spring 2024. As a first step, we want to gather information on what plants are already growing in and around the meadow.

How to use iNaturalist
Click here to watch a tutorial on how to use iNaturalist, created by Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist Doug Hitchcox

Help us get a sense of what native plants are already thriving and what weeds and invasive plants are present by participating in this project’s iNaturalist BioBlitz! iNaturalist is a free app you can use in the field to identify and log plant and animal sightings. By adding your plant and bird observations to this project between July 1 and September 15, 2023, you will help focus meadow improvement efforts and track changes in plant/bird diversity in coming years.

This meadow improvement project is funded, in part, with a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior Land & Water Conservation Fund through the State of Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands, Grants & Community Recreation Program

Scarborough: Insect and Plant Biodiversity Day at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center

Help us conduct a marsh-wide survey of plants and insects to document the numbers of individuals and species, July 30 from 9 am to noon. We will be using iNaturalist to record IDs, so having some familiarity with and access to the app is encouraged. Each group of monitors will be assigned a portion of the marsh to survey. Groups will go out with experienced monitors. Experience is not required, and beginners are welcome. We will begin with a brief introduction to the marsh and the survey methods. After that, monitors will disburse to their assigned sections. This is a free volunteer opportunity, but pre-registration is required. Register here >

We also have bird monitoring days on July 22 and August 19 from 8 to 11 am. Join us for a marsh-wide bird survey at Scarborough Marsh to document the numbers of individuals and species of birds that call the marsh home. Timed to catch the beginning of shorebird migration, each group of monitors will be assigned a portion of the marsh to survey. The morning will start with a brief introduction to the marsh and the survey methods (we’ll be using the free app eBird for these surveys).