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Citizen science project monitors spring

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CANTON — Spring has finally arrived, according to some of the signs community members are recording online.

Nature Up North launched on Friday two community science projects to encourage people to enjoy the changing season.

From animal and bug sightings to changes in plants and climate, citizens are invited to partake in the Signs of Spring science project by observing nature around them and submitting what they’ve seen to natureupnorth.org.

“Our mission is to help people get outside and exposed to nature,” said Jacob D. Malcomb, project manager. “This is the perfect time of year because plants and animals are waking up.”

Mr. Malcomb said some of the signs include the many types of birds that are making their way back to the area and that frogs have started breeding.

Soon, he said, the trees will also be budding, which is why they launched the second project Monitor My Maple.

Citizens can pick a maple tree and monitor the changes they see like when the buds, flowers and leaves come in.

“Sugar maple monitoring is culturally, ecologically and economically important up here in the north country,” Mr. Malcomb said. “The data collected through citizen observations can lead to important information about the tree’s health.”

Since Friday, they’ve only had a handful of people contribute to the projects, but both projects will go through late May.

“There can be so many different distractions in life that prevent us from going outside to notice these changes in the environment,” Mr. Malcomb said. “We’re hopeful that more people will join in and we’d like to even see some K-12 classes participate.”

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