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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 on Friday launched two community science projects to encourage enjoyment of the changing season.

From animal and bug sightings to changes in plants and climate, citizens are invited to participate 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 frogs breeding and birds making their way back to the area.

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

Citizens can pick a maple tree and keep track of changes they see, such as when the buds and leaves come in.

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

Since Friday, only a handful of people have contributed 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 see some K-12 classes participate.”

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