Monday, February 26, 2018

Falmouth Audubon 2/16 update.

I have been invited to participate in the Conservation Lobby day on April 4th.
here is some information on the event from the Environmental Priorities Coalition website:

"Over breakfast, you'll learn how to lobby your legislators with tips and tricks from our experts and hear about the Environmental Priorities Coalition's bills still in play this session. We'll focus on two water bonds that are critical to protecting clean water across Maine!
Then we'll head upstairs so that you can talk to your legislators about the environmental issues that matter most to you. Lobby Day will wrap up by noon, and then we'll hold a Clean Water Rally!"

I'm really looking forward to this event!  Audubon Coordinator, Annica, and I are prepping research and questions for our legislators regarding these clean water bonds and maintaining a healthy environment for all of Maine.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Week 2: Waterfall Arts

This week I finished up the photo archive project; though there is one album left  that contains 501 photos, but there seems to be a problem when trying to download it, so now I'm working on finding a way to fix this issue or get the photos from another employee who may have them in a folder. Aside from this, I was tasked with the job of emailing each of the WA board members about the updates that are being made to the board member page of the website. The following week I will work on the website update, and I am being introduced to a WA artist to write a blog about. The only other new task I did this week was fill out a few labels for some art pieces made by 8th graders that are going to be displayed in the gallery.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Week 1 at Waterfall Arts

My first week at Waterfall Arts was very low-key. I began my first ongoing project for them this semester, organizing their photo archive. For this project, I download photo albums from WA's Flickr website, then upload them into dropbox so they can better manage their photos. The only other small project I did this week was hang up posters and postcards around downtown Belfast to promote an upcoming event at WA. Next week I will most likely begin work on the creative blog project.

Falmouth Audubon 2/2-2/9

I have started administration tasks on the Wildlife Roadwatch page and will be working on cataloging a backlog of data from volunteers. Annica and I have also discussed my roll with the last stages of the Brook Trout Survey, which will slowly be passed off to the Trout Unlimited organization. There will be some data-plugging going on with that project as well, though Annica is waiting to hear back from a specialist on the TU team. We are also hoping to coordinate some student involvement and find ways to engage more volunteers, particularly with the budding endangered turtle survey project that Audubon is developing. In the meantime my 'homework assignments' have consisted of getting familiarized with the organizations we will be affiliated with throughout some of these projects, and also learning a little about a smartphone app Audubon hopes to start utilizing as a tool for citizen scientists to submit data. This app, called iNaturalist, will largely function as part of the endangered turtle project, which will look a lot like the wildlife roadwatch survey. Volunteers will submit mapped data, photos and descriptions of turtles found in or around roadways, dead or alive. I am working on getting in touch with a biking coalition in Portland, to try and find interest in this project amongst bikers in the Southern Maine area as well. 
Annica and I also discussed some potential for visiting the statehouse and attending some meetings over environmental bills and laws being passed. Clearly, we have a lot planned and hope to make headway on some of these projects over the next few months! I am very excited to be working with Audubon, and it is great to see how some of these projects have grown. I highly recommend any interested students check out the iNaturalist app too! It's very cool and a great community-based science app. You can see all the cool wildlife people are seeing and photographing in your local area!

Falmouth Audubon (1/26-2/2) Introduction.

This Spring I will be working with the Falmouth Audubon, contributing to a few projects they currently have underway there. Annica Mcquirk, Audubon Project coordinator and Unity alum, is currently overseeing aspects of the Audubon Brook Trout Survey, Wildlife Roadwatch, and other citizen science initiatives. I will be collaborating with Annica to log and review survey data, organize volunteers, and administer project webpages. I have volunteered with the Maine chapter in the past, and spent a couple years working on these very same projects. The surveys have evolved and grown, and it's awesome to see how much progress has been achieved throughout all of them.

For a little background on these projects, I'll quote some descriptions from Audubon's Brook Trout survey page. The survey itself has been divided into two titles: The Remote Pond Survey and The Coastal Stream Survey. The remote pond survey is described as "A collaborative effort by Maine Audubon, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and the Maine Council of Trout Unlimited (METU). The goal is to recruit volunteers to identify previously-undocumented wild Brook Trout populations in remote Maine ponds. Maine contains over 6,000 lakes and ponds, and close to 1,000 of those waters had never been surveyed by fisheries biologists prior and have no records of any past stocking." The Coastal Stream survey is similar in nature, and described as "A collaborative effort by Maine Audubon, MDIFW, METU, and most recently the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition (SRBTC), the Coastal Stream Survey is a separate project that was added in 2014 to recruit volunteer anglers to gather data on wild Brook Trout in Maine’s coastal rivers and streams. Brook Trout that live in coastal streams may spend part of their lives in saltwater and come back to freshwater to spawn, a life history strategy called “diadromy.” Currently, the distribution and life history of coastal Brook Trout in Maine is poorly understood. Diadromous populations of Brook Trout appear to be declining throughout their range.  There has never been an intensive survey of Maine’s coastal Brook Trout populations, so their current status in Maine is uncertain. Data collected by volunteers will be provided to biologists to inform future fisheries management decisions."
The Maine Audubon Wildlife Road Watch is a "web-based map and database designed to record your observations of road-side and road-killed wildlife.
Information about where wildlife attempt to cross roads, what animals are involved, on what kinds of roads are collisions frequent, and other data can help inform policy, management, and financial investment in reducing road-kill and habitat fragmentation. Maine Audubon scientists will use the data to improve our collective understanding of where wildlife attempt to cross roads and what we can do to reduce road-kill and increase safety for people and wildlife."

We are starting on reviewing a backlog of data, and have discussed other opportunities arising in March and April.