In 2016 Sears Island began a program to eradicate invasive plant species, monitor sensitive habitats, and to engage island visitors as citizen scientists on the island. On Saturday, June 10th, from 10am-12pm, Aleta McKeage will lead a nature walk that will teach walk participants how to identify invasive plants, and give a hands-on tutorial on how to use your camera and/or smartphone to record and report interesting observations of flora and fauna through FOSI’s new citizen science portal on their website. In addition, participants will be given field guides and checklists specific to Sears Island printed from iNaturalist, a website FOSI is using to create a database of the plant and animal species that can be seen on the island. McKeage will also discuss other exciting citizen science programs as well as apps and websites you can use to enrich your experience in nature while also contributing to an important collection of data that will help FOSI and other groups measure changes in biodiversity over time. This hands-on program will leave you feeling inspired about the simple actions you can take to make a difference in monitoring and protecting our natural resources.
Aleta McKeage is the Technical Director at Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District and an ecological consultant at GreenWays Eco Center in Belfast. McKeage managed the Sears Island Stewardship Project last summer and will continue her work of removing invasive plants and monitoring this summer with several college interns.
This event is free and open to the public. Sears Island is on Sears Island Road off Route 1 just east of Searsport. Participants should park along the causeway at the end of the road and meet at the kiosk near the island gate by 10:00am. If you have a smartphone, we encourage you to download the free iNaturalist app before the walk, as it may enrich your experience (however, this is not required). Please wear footwear appropriate for hiking, clothing to protect against ticks and the weather, and bring water, a snack, and insect repellent. Please no pets on guided walks. For more information and updates about cancellations in the event of inclement weather, visit www.friendsofsearsisland.org, facebook.com/friendsofsearsisland, or call Ashley at 975-3878.