Want to Be a Citizen Scientist? You Can Help Track Spruce Budworms
Maine is looking for volunteers in the state's northern reaches to help understand the rise and spread of spruce budworm populations.
The spruce budworm is a forest pest that destroyed more than a fifth of the fir trees in Maine during an outbreak in the 1970s and '80s.
Maine wants residents to help with the Budworm Tracker Program, which needs volunteers to help conduct research and monitor spruce budworm populations in backyards and woodlots.
Hundreds of volunteers have signed up in eastern Canada. The program wants to add about 30 or 40 volunteers in northern Maine.
Program Coordinator Emily Owens says the Budworm Tracker team wants to engage interested citizens to help conduct research and monitor spruce budworm populations in their own backyards and woodlots.
"Our team is trying to better understand the extent that migrating moths coming from an outbreak such as the current one in Québec might play a role in the rise and spread of spruce budworm.”
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.
They are asked to trap and collect spruce budworm moths at least once per week during the flight 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.
In Maine, the research team is particularly interested in recruiting volunteers from Bangor to the Saint John Valley.
Individuals working or living in these areas who are interested in becoming a citizen scientist can visit the Budworm Tracker website or call Program Coordinator Emily Owens at (506) 452-3507.
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