Monthly Archives: March 2019

“Searching for Spring” Phenology Program

Forsythia, an early spring bloomer. Photo credit: Marc Ryckaert

Friends of Sears Island will host a presentation titled “Searching for Spring: An Overview of Phenology Research and Citizen Science Initiatives in Maine” by Elisabeth Maxwell on Wednesday, April 10th at 6:30pm at the Belfast Free Library. Phenology is the study of seasonal changes in plants and animals. Without even realizing it, we all observe phenology events that occur around us: the first snow fall, bird migrations, leaves changing color, flowering of our favorite plants, and so much more! This presentation will introduce what phenology is, how it is observed, and describe some of the current research efforts taking place around the state. Elisabeth Maxwell is a co-coordinator for Signs of the Seasons, a citizen science monitoring program that trains and supports participants of all ages throughout New England in recording phenology. Using their backyards as laboratories, participants in the Signs of the Seasons program help scientists document the local effects of global climate change.

This event will take place in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Library and is free and open to the public. For more information and to learn more about Friends of Sears Island visit or To learn more about the Signs of the Seasons Program, visit

Track and Sign Exploration for Youth on Sears Island

Sorry, the program is now full! If you’d like to be on the waiting list, please complete the registration form and we will contact you if space becomes available.

Join Friends of Sears Island for a Track and Sign Exploration program for children on Wednesday, March 27th from 4:00-5:30pm. This free program will be led by Caitlin Horigan on Sears Island. Letting our curiosity lead us, we’ll explore what tracks and animal signs we come upon together. We’ll learn about what animals live in this ecosystem and their behaviors during this time of year. This program will likely involve some off-trail walking and standing, so please wear snowshoes or tall boots if you have them and dress for the weather!

This program is for kids ages 6-12 with an accompanying adult, and advance registration is required as space is limited. To sign-up, please CLICK HERE. This event is part of Friends of Sears Island’s “Science Squad,” an after-school program involving children as scientists, explorers, and stewards of their environment.

Caitlin Horigan has been mentoring youth in a wide variety of settings and various countries for over 18 years. Currently, she is facilitating nature connection activities in public schools and after-school programs in mid-coast Maine. Her introduction to tracking, bird language, plant medicine, shelter building, scout skills and off grid living began when she worked for the Maine Primitive Skills School. Caitlin is a Wilderness First Responder and is pursuing a Recreational Maine Guide license.

Sears Island is located on Sears Island Road off Route 1 just east of Searsport. Registered participants should park along the causeway at the end of the road and meet at the island gate by 4:00pm. No pets are permitted at public programs. In the event of inclement weather, program participants will be notified that the program is cancelled. For more information, visit, or call 207-975-3878.

Photo caption: Children exploring the winter woods.

Photo credit: Caitlin Horigan