Help Maine Forest Service Cooperators Track the Spruce Budworm in Maine

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Guest blog post by: Emily Owens, Healthy Forest Partnership

The Budworm Tracker Program, a component of the Healthy Forest Partnership, is looking for additional volunteers to join its Budworm Tracker citizen science program in Northern Maine.

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Photo credit: Allison Kanoti, MFS

The Budworm Tracker Program is part of a large scientific initiative aimed at better understanding how spruce budworm populations rise and spread. Spruce budworm is one of the most damaging native insects affecting balsam fir and spruce trees in the United States and Canada. Outbreaks, such as the one currently in Québec, Canada, often result in widespread tree growth loss and death with effects that can last for decades.

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Photo credit: Brian Roth, CFRU

The program was launched in 2015 to help scientists increase their understanding of the spruce budworm by having citizens assist with the collecting and sharing of scientific data.

Over 200 volunteers have signed up for the 2016 season. These volunteers range from families who are interested in science and forestry, to industry and forestry stakeholders. As citizen scientists, they are asked to trap and collect spruce budworm moths during the migration season, between June and August, and send the data back to the research team. The traps are supplied for free and come with simple instructions. A short video also describes the program.

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Photo credit: Budworm Tracker

In Maine, the research team is particularly interested in recruiting volunteers in locations as far south as Bangor and as north as the border with Québec and New Brunswick. Volunteers would be asked to monitor traps on at least a weekly basis from mid-June through August.

Individuals living in these areas who are interested in becoming a citizen scientist can visit www.budwormtracker.ca or call:

Emily Owens, Biologist
Program Coordinator
Forest Protection Limited
(506) 452-3507