The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is looking for people like you to help keep track of the wildlife of Maine. The information you collect looking out your windows or going on nature walks will help scientists keep species protected and safe in your town and help populations across our state.
Here are the various citizen scientist programs available to the casual, but invested, wildlife viewers of Maine just like you.
No experience is required to be part of this project. You just need to be able to get outside and watch the birds around you. Collect information that helps scientists and wildlife specialists analyze the number of species in your area, if they are breeding, if the population is growing or waning, etc. Find out more about the Maine Bird Atlas here.
Another bird-specific project but, this time, very specifically focused on the heron. This project has you observe a group of blue herons, a sort of 'adopt-a-colony' program. You will monitor a blue heron colony to help scientists gain information about the population of blue herons across the State of Maine. Find out more about this program here.
And another bird-centered project, this time you will be asked to observe the birds of Maine near rivers. The project is meant to improve the quality of life for birds and wildlife who live along the rivers of Maine and the information observed by citizen scientists like you could help improve this habitat for generations to come. Find more information about this program here.
Another winged creature but one that has garnered a lot of attention lately is a project centered around the bumblebee. This project is an observation-based program that citizen scientists can participate in that has a mission to understand the diversity, distribution, and conservation of the bumblebee here in Maine. Find out more about this program at Maine.gov.
This project has citizen scientists looking to the ground for salamanders, frogs, snakes, and turtles. These species are especially sensitive to environmental changes and scientists and wildlife specialists of Maine need your help to keep certain species stabilized and safe. Find more at Maine.gov.
For citizen scientists with quick eyes, this program will have you documenting the damselflies and dragonflies of Maine. There are 3 species that are endangered or threatened and 25 species of special concern, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, which is why more eyes are needed to ensure accurate information is understood. Find more about this program at Maine.gov.
Citizen scientists are needed to observe Maine's butterflies, too! This is another pollinator we need to keep an eye on and your observations can help local scientists and wildlife specialists know the important data that could tell us that one species is in particular danger. Find out more about this citizen scientist program at Maine.gov.
The only mammal on the list is the rabbit citizen scientist program. If you see one, consider yourself lucky because they are very elusive and Maine's native rabbits need protection, including the endangered New England Cottontail. Find out more about this program at Maine.gov.