Institute Staff and Techs Attend 2018 ANP Science Symposium

 

The Acadia National Park Science Symposium was held on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Over 100 people attended the event held at The College of the Atlantic – many being students with an interest in research and science in Acadia National Park.

Schoodic Institute staff and field technicians were attendees and presenters. Diana Gurvich (pictured below) presented research on Acadia National Park island forests, and 25 years of change and stability. Learn more about the forest ecology program HERE.

Diana Gurvich

Marcella Heineke presented on the intertidal and forest passive warming experiment. This summer 2018 effort by Schoodic Institute staff and college interns, Henry Locke from Colby College and Brian Zabilski from Columbia University, involved building passive warming chambers that raise temperatures in experimental plots in the intertidal zone and in a forest opening. This is research technique helps examine how species in Acadia are responding to climate change.

Hannah Webber

 

Libby Orcutt

Schoodic Institute Research and Education Projects Manager Hannah Webber, (above) and field tech Libby Orcutt (here) presented on citizen science and public engagement in Acadia National Park. Orcutt’s work on citizen science and the Downeast Phenology Trail can be found HERE.

Nick Fisichelli leads SCS moderation.

A special session focused on the Second Century Stewardship program. Five SCS fellows took part in a panel discussion after presenting information on their individual research. Schoodic Institute  Forest Ecology Director Nick Fisichelli moderated the panel.

David E. Shaw

Attendees had the privilege of hearing from Second Century Stewardship founder and supporter, David Evans Shaw. Shaw shared remarks about the importance of science and research in national parks across the country, advancing science and engaging with audiences of all ages – not just those who visit national parks, but all people, each of whom has a share in protecting and preserving our nation’s natural places and maintaining the vital health of our air, soil and water.

The SCS project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous donation of David E. Shaw.

Photos by D. Manski

 


Guest Blog: Migration Watch from Schoodic Point

 

Guest Blog by Earl Johnson

Now I’ve never been exactly what you’d call a morning person, but five days a week, I crawl out of my bed (or camper or sleeping bag as is sometimes the case), and find my way to Schoodic Point half an hour before the sun comes up.  Technically I do this to fulfill my obligations as this fall’s SeaWatch Migration Monitor. In addition to showing up for work though, there are innumerable other things that make me excited to get out there and see what’s happening on any given morning.  Most days I’m the first one out there. The quiet is pretty unreal and it’s easy to forget about as the morning progresses and the sounds of automobiles and lobster boats gradually take over but for those first minutes of semi-darkness in the breaking dawn it feels like it’s just me and the waves and it’s incredible.  

Photo by Earl Johnson

Oftentimes I hear pods of Harbor Porpoise blowing and splashing before I see them.  Not a sound I ever thought I’d get used to but it’s become a part of my life out there at the SeaWatch.  I spend my days scanning the horizon with scope or binoculars or the naked eye, (sometimes cursing myself for not bringing enough hot coffee) hoping to see and count birds in migration.  By the numbers, me and Schoodic Institute’s Bird Ecology Program Director, Seth Benz, saw an average of 461 migrating waterbirds each day through the month of September. Some days are busy (our best this month was September 30th at 1584 migrants) and some are slow (we had 2 days where zero birds were counted due to heavy fog).  These numbers fall short of telling the whole story though. On any given day, even if there aren’t migrating birds to count there’s always something to watch out on the point.  

If there is decent visibility, you can see any number of our resident birds and mammals, including some pretty interesting humans that seem to gravitate to the point for photo shoots.  Then there are the waves and the clouds and the water, always something to draw your focus. The constant motion and the sense of mystery are the main things that draw me to ‘seawatching’.  You never know if it’s going to be a record setting day where you get to witness the spectacle of avian migration in the tens of thousands or a slower (but equally rewarding) one where you are privy to the spectacle of waves and water crashing on the rock with little else moving out there.

Photo by Seth Benz

It’s often a toss-up weather the birds will be near or far.  Some are identifiable without the use of binoculars, and others, especially big flocks, are only detectable with the help of a high powered spotting scope.  As with raptor migration, the waterbird movement seems to be driven at least in part by wind and weather conditions. Some days the stars align and the flight lines are near the point, allowing for close observations.  Other days I’m struggling to get a general idea for what species compose a distant flock I’m studying. No two days of counting are alike and trying to puzzle out why one day is great while another falls flat with seemingly identical conditions is a question that presents itself repeatedly.

Bird migration is a marvel that in many cases passes quietly without our notice.  The honking of geese or giant flocks of blackbirds are some instances that are pretty hard to ignore.  Out on Schoodic Point, enormous flocks of migrating Double-crested Cormorants are one of the most conspicuous indicators that something big is happening.  Fall migration is especially exciting since in addition to the adult birds that made the migration north in the spring, there are often young birds migrating southwards with them on the first of what will hopefully be many migrations.  

Photo by Earl Johnson


 

 

The fall season at Acadia: when birds, fruit, and insects join together in a splendor of biodiversity

 

The fall season is a busy one on the coast of Maine. Birds are migrating through on their way south to warmer climes, many shrubs are producing fruit so that their seed is dispersed prior to winter, and insect populations have their last opportunities to be active before it gets too cold. Precisely when these activities are occurring – and how they are related to each other – is not well known.

More importantly, the timing of these iconic moments of autumn might be in the middle of changing due to climate change, which means the potential disruption of key ecological processes, such as the consumption of fruit and insects by birds.

Along with colleagues from Acadia and Schoodic Institute, and citizen scientists from the Earthwatch Institute, Dr. Richard Feldman, Schoodic Institute Adjunct Professor has been documenting the unfolding of fall on the Schoodic Peninsula. In this presentation, he will use the data that has been collected to describe how birds, fruit, and insects interact with each other and how that changes through fall and across the years. Dr. Feldman will also discuss the importance of citizen scientists to work and similar projects across the country, and how to improve the flow of data between professional and citizen scientists.

Schoodic Institute invites the public to this presentation, Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at 7:00 PM in Moore Auditorium on the Institute campus. No registration is required.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Schoodic Institute New Board Chair and Member Announcement

 

Schoodic Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of a new board chair and a new member to its board of directors. Current board member Dr. David Ellwood has been named Schoodic Institute Board Chair replacing retiring board chair Alan Goldstein. David Manski has been appointed to the board and will serve as Vice Chair.

David Ellwood

“I am deeply honored to be chairing this terrific board and working with our exciting new CEO, Don Kent.  Schoodic Institute has a vital and exciting mission at the intersection of science, education, and conservation,” said Ellwood.  “Our location within and close collaboration with Acadia National Park offers an exceptional opportunity to learn and share at a time when our local natural environment is changing so very rapidly.   I look forward to building upon the years of wise and committed leadership of my predecessor, Alan Goldstein.”

Dr. Ellwood grew up in Minnesota and later attended Harvard University where he earned both his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. Dr. Ellwood is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Senior Research Affiliate of the National Poverty Center at University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Over the years, Dr. Ellwood has become one of the country’s foremost scholars on poverty and welfare. For his work, Dr. Ellwood has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, such as the Morris and Edna Zale Award for Outstanding Distinction in Scholarship and Public Service among others. Currently, Dr. Ellwood is the Isabelle and Scott Black Professor of Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he has also served as Dean. Dr. Ellwood and his wife Marilyn have been married for over 25 years and enjoy hiking, sea kayaking, and most forms of outdoor recreation.

 

David Manski

 

David Manski, was former Chief of Natural Resources and Cultural Heritage at Acadia National Park for the final 20 years of a 35-year National Park Service career. During his tenure at Acadia, he was instrumental in helping to establish the Schoodic Institute as a National Park Service research and learning center.

David is an expert in conservation and natural resource management. He received the U.S. Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award and the NPS Director’s Award for Natural Resource Management. David has worked extensively on international conservation issues, both during his career and following retirement in 2014. These technical assistance and consulting assignments have taken him to Oman (where in 2017, he served as a Nature Reserve Expert with their Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs), Tanzania, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, China, Mozambique, and Timor- Leste. In 2013-2014, he was a Fulbright-Nehru Environmental Leadership Program Scholar looking at Protected Area management in India. In addition, he hosted/organized conservation study tours and meetings in the US and abroad for environmental professionals from the Middle East, in affiliation with the Quebec Labrador Foundation.

David has undergraduate and graduate degrees in wildlife ecology from the University of Arizona and Texas A&M University. He is a certified wildlife biologist, a research associate at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, and a Commission Member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. He resides in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Schoodic Institute welcomes Ellwood and Manski to their new roles. Their depth of knowledge and expertise in the fields of public policy, education, and science will help the Institute in its mission to pursue collaborative solutions to critical environmental challenges through discovery and learning.


 

 

 

Become a SCS Research Fellow! Request for Proposals Opens Soon.

The partners of the Second Century Stewardship: Science for America’s National Parks announce the availability of Research Fellowships to support research in Acadia National Park. The selected Research Fellows will contribute to strengthening and broadening public understanding of the importance of science for parks and society.

Second Century  Stewardship (SCS) was founded in 2016 by Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, the National Park Service (NPS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the David Shaw Family Foundation. SCS seeks to advance conservation and ecosystem science and support stewardship of park resources. 

The RFP can be found HERE. 

The application portal on the website will open on September 17, 2018.

 

Proposals must be submitted by midnight eastern U.S. time on October 26, 2018.

A webinar overview of Second Century Stewardship, the Research Fellowship, the application process, and park research priorities will be held on Monday September 17, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Please register HERE.


 

Hawk Watch Season Begins in Acadia

 

Birds are on the move across the continent. Shorebirds, songbirds, waders, most are migrating from northerly breeding grounds toward life-sustaining food resources where birds will spend winter some distances to the south.  Birds of prey are also on the move as evidenced by today’s tally atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.

This is the 23rd season for monitoring the hawk flight in Acadia.  Schoodic Institute coordinates a dedicated team of volunteers and park rangers to collect the data. The  annual count, which begins in August and wraps up in late October, averages about 3000 hawks.

An immature Bald Eagle photographed by Seth Benz

 

Cadillac Mt., Acadia National Park
Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
Observation start time: 08:45:00
Observation end time: 14:00:00
Total observation time: 5.25 hours
Official Counter Jim Zeman, Mickey Shortt
Observers: Jim Zeman, Kathy Zeman, Seth Benz, Valerie Griffin

Visitors:
95 visitors

Weather:
Sunny with a NNW wind 11.9 mph switching to NNW by 10am and then to NE by 12. No haze today.

Raptor Observations:
3 immature Broad Winged Hawks were identified. Also 2 male and 2 female Kestrels. One Kestrel was seen eating a dragonfly.

Non-raptor Observations:
28 Dragonflies were counted. 4 Monarch Butterflies. 3 Blue Jays, 1 Northern Flicker, 6 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 2 Sandpipers, 2 Double-crested Cormorants. 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.


 

Eighty Citizen Scientists Trained this Summer

 

Over the course of two months we have trained over 80 citizen scientists from around the world on how to use Nature’s Notebook, iNaturalist, and eBird– three free fun and easy citizen science tools that anyone can use.

We have citizen scientists helping us and our partners collect data on our Downeast Phenology Trail. They are using Nature’s Notebook to record changes in plant phenology for our target species. They are using iNaturalist to catalog the biodiversity on the trails with a focus on insects. They are using eBird to document what bird species are present and when. These citizen scientists are contributing to not only local research projects here at Schoodic and in Downeast Maine but are using the apps to contribute to scientific research projects around the globe.

Our Downeast Phenology Trail project aims to answer scientific research questions such as: is climate change causing a phenological mismatch between fall migrating songbirds and food abundance-fruit and insects.

Thank you to all who participated! To learn more about the Downeast Phenology Trail please check out the project website HERE.


 

 

Lessons from the Great Conservationists of the Past

Schoodic Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Larry A Nielsen to campus, Tuesday, August 21, 2018. Dr. Nielsen’s presentation is entitled ‘Lessons from the Great Conservationists of the Past’ and is offered free and opened to the public. The program begins at 7:00 PM in Moore Auditorium on the Institute campus. Nielsen’s book, “Nature’s Allies” will be available for sale. Cost is $20.00. Cash only please.

Larry Nielsen is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University (retired January 2018). Previously, he was Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at North Carolina State University from 2005-2009. Before that appointment, he was Dean of the College of Natural Resources at NC State (2001-2004), Director of the School of Forest Resources at The Pennsylvania State University (1994-2001) and a faculty member and later head of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Virginia Tech (1977-1994).


 

 

 

Documentary Film ‘Sonic Sea’ to be shown at The Grand

Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park will host a screening of Sonic Sea, a documentary film that explores the issue of oceanic noise pollution caused by intense military and industrial pursuits and its devastating effects on whales and other marine life around the world. Sonic Sea, which won two Emmy awards in 2017, will be screened on Monday, August 20th at The Grand Theatre in Ellsworth, beginning with a cocktail reception from 6-7:00pm. The event is free of charge to the general public.

The hour long film will be followed by a panel discussion with members of the filmmaking team and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), including Joel Reynolds, the NRDC’s Western Director and Senior Attorney, who is a central figure in the film; Dr. William J. Parker, III, COO of EastWest Institute and former Chief of Staff for the U.S. Naval Forces, and the Honorable Steven S. Honigman, who served as General Counsel to the U.S. Navy, and who is committed to supporting naval operations while protecting environmental resources.

Narrated by the Oscar-nominated actress Rachel McAdams, Sonic Sea premiered on the Discovery Channel and was produced by the NRDC and Imaginary Forces, in association with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The film features interviews with Grammy Award-winning musician, human rights and environmental activist, Sting, as well as the renowned ocean explorers and educators, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Jean-Michel Cousteau, and marine mammal scientists Dr. Christopher Clark and Dr. Paul Spong, among others.

“Schoodic Institute is grateful for the opportunity to partner with The Grand to host Sonic Sea, and welcome members of the filmmaking team and the ocean experts,” said Dr. Don Kent, Institute President.  “We support increased awareness of the effects of noise pollution on marine life, and a solution to this critical environmental challenge.” 

No registration is required.


 

 

Schoodic Institute announces Board Chair

Dr. David Ellwood

 

Schoodic Institute is pleased to announce current board member Dr. David Ellwood has been named Schoodic Institute Board Chair, replacing retiring and current Board Chair Alan Goldstein. Dr. Ellwood’s depth of knowledge and expertise in the fields of public policy, and education, will help Schoodic Institute in its mission to promote science literacy and environmental stewardship for all ages. Schoodic Institute will benefit from his extensive experience as a public servant, scholar, and leader in his field.

“Schoodic Institute staff, partners and supporters are elated to have Dr. David Ellwood assume the Board Chair position,” said Don Kent, President and CEO of Schoodic Institute.  “His accomplishments at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, abetted by his love for Acadia, will serve us well.”

Dr. Ellwood grew up in Minnesota and later attended Harvard University where he earned both his undergraduate degree and Ph.D.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Senior Research Affiliate of the National Poverty Center at University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Over the years, Dr. Ellwood has become one of the country’s foremost scholars on poverty and welfare. For his work, Dr. Ellwood has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, such as the Morris and Edna Zale Award for Outstanding Distinction in Scholarship and Public Service among others. Currently, Dr. Ellwood is the Isabelle and Scott Black Professor of Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he has also served as Dean. 

“I am deeply honored to be chairing this terrific board and working with our exciting new CEO, Don Kent.  Schoodic Institute has a vital and exciting mission at the intersection of science, education, and conservation.  Our location within and close collaboration with Acadia National Park offers an exceptional opportunity to learn and share at a time when our local natural environment is changing so very rapidly, said Dr. Ellwood. He added, “I look forward to building upon the 3 years of wise and committed leadership of my predecessor, Alan Goldstein.”

Dr. Ellwood and his wife Marilyn have been married for over 25 years and enjoy hiking, sea kayaking, and most forms of outdoor recreation.