Sea to Trees is a podcast that tells the stories of the science happening in and around Acadia, from the rocky shoreline to the evergreen forests to the granite mountaintops.
This podcast is possible with generous support through The Cathy and Jim Gero Acadia Early-Career Fellowship, a partnership among Schoodic Institute, National Park Foundation, and National Park Service.
The Sea to Trees Team
Sea to Trees is a podcast from Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. Acadia National Park is on traditional lands of the Wabanaki, People of the Dawn. As a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, Schoodic Institute inspires science, learning, and community for a changing world.
This show was made by Olivia Milloway, 2022 Cathy and Jim Gero Acadia Early Career Fellow in Science Communication. Catherine Schmitt is our senior editor. Additional editorial and production support was provided by Mikayla Gullace, Maya Pelletier, and Patrick Kark. Our music was written by Eric Green, performed with Ryan Curless and Stu Mahan and recorded at North Blood Studios in Damariscotta, Maine. The cover art was created by Sarah Luchini. Laura Sebastenelli of Schoodic Notes recorded the soundscape at Bass Harbor Head Light Station heard at the beginning of each episode.
In this first season of the show, we explore the ever-growing field of citizen science – the participation of non-scientists in research at any level – and how it can help answer questions about our changing world.
Episode 1: We discuss the nation’s largest assessment of mercury contamination and risk. The project, which started between scientists, teachers, and students at Acadia National Park, now relies on volunteer citizen scientists who collect dragonfly larvae. How has the help of more than 6,000 citizen scientists improved our understanding of mercury pollution across the US? To answer this question, we spoke with Abe Miller-Rushing from the National Park Service, Hannah Webber from Schoodic Institute, and Sarah Nelson from the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Episode 2: We travel back to the 1880s when a group of Harvard students called the Champlain Society completed the first natural history survey on the land that would become Acadia National Park. While the Champlain Society used guns to collect birds, nowadays citizen scientists can use cameras to capture photographs instead, uploading the images to an online user-sourced global database of biodiversity called iNaturalist. If the Champlain Society were around today, would they use iNaturalist? We talked with Catherine Schmitt and Kyle Lima of Schoodic Institute to learn more about Landscape of Change, a project comparing what the Champlain Society documented to what modern-day citizen scientists find. We also talked with Carrie Seltzer, who works at iNaturalist, about how the app can help connect people with the world around them. And, we put iNaturalist to the test in the field with citizen scientists.
Episode 3: Maya Pelletier, the Cathy and Jim Gero Acadia Early-Career Fellow in Science Research, calls rockweed (a type of seaweed) “the van Gogh of the intertidal.” When the tide is low, the algae drapes across the rocks in the intertidal zone and creates green-brown contours that look like the artist’s famous brush strokes. Though rockweed is a harvested marine resource, there’s no coast-wide estimate of the state of rockweed on Maine’s coast. Could a citizen science project called Project ASCO help paint a picture of Maine’s rockweed? We talk with Hannah Webber, Marine Ecology Director at Schoodic Institute, along with Ari Leach, a biologist at the Maine Department of Marine Resources. We squelch through the seaweed with citizen science volunteers, weighing, measuring, and counting rockweed.