Citizen science is a way for people to learn about science and the world through meaningful participation in research. Schoodic Institute works with the National Park Service and other partners to provide opportunities for volunteers to participate in science programs in Acadia National Park and also regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Schoodic Institute co-founded the Citizen Science Association, and continues to serve as the fiscal sponsor of the Association. Since 2015, the association has developed annual conference, Citizen Science Day, and the first peer-reviewed journal devoted solely to research on citizen science. The Citizen Science Association now has more than 5,000 members from 81 countries.

Latest Citizen Science Projects

Project ASCO

The goal of Project ASCO (Assessing Seaweed via Community Observations) is to get interested participants out into the intertidal zone to collect data about rockweed while exploring the beauty of the rocky coast between the tides. Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum, or “Asco”) is the dominant species in most of the rocky intertidal zone of Maine and provides habitat for other species living in and visiting the intertidal zone. Rockweed is currently harvested in Maine and sustainable management requires knowledge of the total amount of rockweed throughout the state. Participants in Project ASCO can help answer the question–”How much rockweed is there?”  Learn more.

Landscape of Change

In collaboration with the National Park Service and several nonprofit organizations, we are drawing upon 140 years of scientific information about the Mount Desert Island environment to understand how the landscape has changed over time. We invite the public to join us throughout 2021 in documenting birds, bees, butterflies, moths, and climate conditions in the Downeast and Acadia region. Learn more about Landscape of Change and the Season of Science and Wonder.

Professional Development Workshops

Citizen science is advancing research and learning across multidisciplinary fields. It can also be a valuable way to connect people to places and beings that are special to them, and to cultivate a sense of stewardship. In our citizen science workshops (offered with Second Century Stewardship partners), participants learn from experts and each other as they apply principles of good citizen science design, while developing implementation plans that meet their goals. Participants leave with an action plan for their citizen science project, citizen science project skills, and a network of practitioners for help in the future.

Downeast Phenology Trail

Phenology, or nature’s calendar, is the study of plant and animal life cycle events. Created to help advance scientific research in Acadia and throughout all of Downeast Maine, the Downeast Phenology Trail engages citizens in tracking the timing of flowering and fruiting plants, emergence of insects, and bird migrations.

Bird Monitoring Programs

The Bird Ecology Program supports several programs that welcome citizen participation, including Sea Watch, Cadillac Mountain Hawk Watch, and Songbird Watch at Frazer Point. Check the calendar for upcoming bird tours.

Climate Change: Sea to Trees at Acadia National Park with Earthwatch Expeditions

In partnership with Schoodic Institute and Acadia National Park, Earthwatch citizen scientist volunteers on week-long expeditions study changing flora and fauna of Acadia. Learn more about our partnership with Earthwatch.


Since 2004, volunteers have documented thousands of insects, spiders, bees, beetles, butterflies, and moths during annual “bioblitzes.” Learn more about past bioblitzes.