Species news & information

Hot Topic! New England Cottontail

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Many of you may be familiar with the New England Cottontail from a past Hot Topic! we posted here a little over a year ago now. Didn't see that post? Check it out HERE.

Hot Topic! Emerald ash borer – Invasives on Maine’s doorstep

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Picasa, DAB3218

First detected in Michigan in 2002, the emerald ash borer (EAB) has now spread to at least 24 states and two Canadian provinces. EAB infestations have been reported in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. So, although Maine has not had any recorded infestations, EAB is only 20-30 miles away and the Maine Forest Service says they are preparing for the inevitable. Maine citizen scientists can help by monitoring with Mission: Emerald ash borer.

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.

Messalonskee Middle School Mission: Are the crayfish in our pond invasive?

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Guest blog post by Amanda Ripa's students from Messalonskee Middle School:
At Messalonskee Middle School, we have a stormwater pond behind our school. Despite collecting polluted water, there are many living things. During nature journaling, we noticed that there were a lot of crayfish! We put out a trap and the next day, the trap was full! From this observation, we wanted to answer our research question, “Are the crayfish in our pond invasive?”

A Field Day with New England Cottontails!

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Despite the cold and wet weather this past Saturday, 17 hearty souls left the comfort of their warm beds to learn about the new Vital Signs Mission: New England Cottontail.

Hot Topic! European Naiad Confirmed in Maine River

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In late September this year, a local citizen scientist was out monitoring the Salmon Falls River when they found European Naiad (Najas minor). This aquatic invasive plant is no joke; it can easily grow into a whole new plant from tiny pieces that have broken off (which typically occurs in the fall when stems become brittle).

The Browntail moth

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This year is shaping up to be a strong one for an invasive species unique to the coastal area of Maine, the Browntail moth. Due to a dry Spring we could be seeing the worst conditions here in a decade with increased Browntail moth populations.

Maine State of Learning

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The Vital Signs program is proud to be part of the Maine State of Learning (MSOL) pilot project this summer as we look at ways to promote learning opportunities and recognize accomplishments of our students by awarding them digital badges.

Maine’s wild soft-shell clams are under threat, but Dr. Beal is fighting back.

photo by VS user mymilkshake1

Last spring we got to help study predation of soft-shell clams with Dr. Brian Beal from the Downeast Institute. There are many predators of soft-shell clams but green crabs are the major threat. Soft-shell clams are one of Maine’s most valuable fisheries, second to lobsters and elvers. Today, just finding clams has become a challenge.

Massabesic Middle School Invasive Species Forum

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The Invasive Species Forum that team Aroostook of Massabesic Middle School hosted was on November 6th, 2014. It was an amazing event that occurred to not only increase awareness about invasive species, but it also attempted to get new citizen scientists signed up into Vital Signs.

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