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

95 visitors

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.




Jonathan White: Author talk and book signing


Schoodic Institute is pleased to invite the public to a talk and book signing in collaboration with Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, August 9, at Jesup Library, Bar Harbor.

In “Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean,” writer, sailor, and surfer Jonathan White takes readers across the globe to discover the science and spirit of ocean tides. “Tides” is the result of White’s twenty-year quest to better understand both the science behind tides and how they impact man-kind.

Join White for an author talk and book signing with the Jesup Memorial Library and Schoodic Institute at the Jesup on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. There will be a reception beforehand at 6 p.m.
“Tides” combines adventure travel and scientific inquiry and looks into the mysterious paradox that keeps our planet’s waters in constant motion.

In the Arctic, White goes under the ice with an Inuit elder to hunt for mussels in the dark cavities left behind at low tide; in China, he races the Silver Dragon, a twenty-fivefoot tidal bore that crashes eighty miles up the Qiantang River; in France, he interviews the monks who live in the tide-wrapped monastery of Mont SaintMichel; in Chile and Scotland, he investigates the growth of tidal power generation; and in Panama and Venice, he delves into how the threat of sea level rise is changing human culture.

The Wall Street Journal writes, “A wonderfully paced account…White offers clear explanations of how tides work and scientific giants such as Aristotle, Copernicus…and others helped us get where we are today.” The Bangor Daily News adds that “Tides” is “a fascinating work of literary nonfiction, rich with characters, stories and scenes from around the globe.”

White grew up diving, sailing and fishing on the beaches of Southern California, has logged more than one hundred thousand miles sailing on the Pacific and Atlantic, and has surfed all over the world. In the 1980s, he founded the Resource Institute. His first book, “Talking on the Water: Conversations about Nature and Creativity,” is a collection of interviews exploring our relationship with nature and features Gretel Ehrlich, David Brower, Ursula K. Le Guin, Gary Snyder, Peter Matthiessen, and others. He has written for the Christian Science Monitor, The Sun, Orion, Surfer’s Journal, and other publications. He holds an MFA in creative nonfiction and lives with his wife and son on a small island in Washington State.

Books will be on sale that night courtesy of Sherman’s Books. For more about White visit and for more information on the talk contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245 or




Forest Ecology Field Techs Get to Work


Forest ecology field interns have had a busy two weeks since arriving for the summer. Catch up with some of their work, and see a few observations made along the way!

Techs stumbled upon a juvenile eastern newt, or red eft as they are aptly named, while completing their plant phenology trail through the Nature’s Notebook app. A welcome splash of color on a dreary day! 

A flowering mountain cranberry pokes through a bed of lichen on Schoodic Head. 

For the past two weeks, field techs have collected phenology data on the tree test beds set up at SERC and MDI (the first is outside of Wright Hall while the latter is near the top of Cadillac Mountain). A mix of native species and species that are projected to ‘migrate’ north with climate change, this data set will provide an important insight into how seasonal changes will shift with climate change, as well as how well current non-native species are able to establish in this region.

An emerging balsam fir (Abies balsamea) seedling in the bed outside of Wright Hall. By next week, it may drop its seed coat and its cotyledons will start to expand – this type of change in the timeline of a seedling is what techs are tracking in the above project. 

Photos by Diana Gurvich


Guest Blog Part I. by Nicole Snyder, North Dakota State University

Schoodic Institute is pleased to share a series of posts by Nicole Snyder, Zoology Masters Student at North Dakota State University.

Part 1.

Hello everyone!

My name is Nik Snyder and I am a graduate student from North Dakota State University. This field season I will be conducting research right here at Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge while staying at Schoodic Institute. So, I thought I’d introduce myself and share my work with you this summer!


About Myself:

I love the outdoors and a good challenge! Exploring the beautiful outdoors of Maine has definitely been a bucket list item, so I’m very grateful to be spending my summer here. But back home, I enjoy fishing, biking, canoeing, traveling, gardening, building snow sculptures, and running. This May, I actually finished my first half-marathon…and realized how long a half-marathon actually is! I actively volunteer in my community, working with my campus Lions Club. My favorite project is our annual meat raffle/duffle bag project, where we raise funds to donate duffle bags and toiletries to children moved into foster care. I enjoy teaching and sharing my love of the outdoors, so I regularly host science workshops for budding middle school scientists. I also dabble in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Education research, in hopes that I can improve my own teaching technique and my students’ learning experiences in the classroom.


My Past Experience:

I have an degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and currently am working on my PhD in Zoology at NDSU. I’m really interested in how developing embryos can collect information about the world they will be born into and what they do with that information during early development. I’m also want to know how global climate change impacts an embryo’s ability to interpret their birth environment and respond to change.

I conducted research in Dr. Reed and Dr. Clark’s Lab on different species of birds.  I learned red-winged blackbirds can choose when to start nesting after migration, but their choice impacts the hormone levels in their egg yolk and hatching success. In Franklin’s gull and chicken embryos, I explored the roles of yolk melatonin and how melatonin regulates embryo size (… and yes, melatonin does more than just make you sleepy!).  This summer, I will investigate how Maine’s Laughing gull embryos use light and egg yolk hormones to adjust their own growth during development in the egg.

I’m opening up a gull egg so I can sample the yolk and test it for various hormone levels.

A chicken embryo up close under the microscope. Only after two days of incubation an bird embryo can already detect day-length.

Gull eggs labeled and ready to be incubated for an experiment.

**Always remember though to leave wild bird eggs alone, unless you have the appropriate permits and permissions. Egg collecting is a highly regulated process by state and federal wildlife agencies to protect migratory species.**

My Project:

One of the greatest challenges facing biologists today is being able to reliably predict how organisms will integrate genetic and environmental cues to produce observable characteristics, or phenotypes. This knowledge is critical as environments undergo rapid changes and plants and animals must adjust or face extinction. As climate change shifts seasons earlier, migratory animals may be unable to adjust to altered reproductive windows and put themselves at risk of rearing offspring in suboptimal conditions. We ask ourselves: How will offspring respond to suboptimal conditions and how will those responses influence individual survival and population and evolutionary dynamics? We know an organism’s phenotype is flexible during early development. During this time, genes act as a starting blueprint and environmental cues refine and alter characteristics through to adulthood. However, we do not truly understand the extent to which environmental cues can modify a developing phenotype and we cannot predict how a suite of environmental cues will be integrated by offspring to produce the final adult phenotype. If we cannot predict which phenotypes are produced in stable ecosystems, then we cannot predict how organisms will respond in rapidly changing environments.

Our lack of knowledge in this area means that many organisms will be left vulnerable, especially those whose life history strategies evolved in response to consistent cues such as the timing of seasons. My project will improve understanding of how different environmental cues interact during early development to produce offspring phenotypes important for survival as juveniles. By understanding the rules governing how environment shapes resulting phenotype, we can begin to predict how selection will act on those phenotypes, predict which phenotypes will persist in rapidly changing environments, and mitigate threats to Earth’s lifeforms.



Second Century Stewardship Names 2018 Fellows to Conduct Research in Acadia National Park


Two scientists have been awarded fellowships to conduct research in Acadia National Park as part of Second Century Stewardship, an initiative of the National Park Service and Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park.

Second Century Stewardship was launched in 2016 upon the centennial of the National Park Service to provide top-quality science research for park stewardship, build public appreciation for science, and pursue solutions to critical issues for parks and society. The collaboration is initially focused at Acadia National Park in Maine, with plans to partner with national parks across the country over time.

Two research fellows have been named for 2018:

The fellows will be examining how rapidly changing conditions are affecting fundamental resources and human health within Acadia National Park and across the region.

Dr. Gardner is investigating the impacts of habitat management on tick-borne disease in Acadia. Historical fires, such as the Fire of 1947 on Mount Desert Island, and contemporary prescribed burns have short-term and long-term effects on ecosystems and may impact tick-borne disease systems, including the hosts for Lyme disease (deer and mice).  

“Due in part to ongoing climate change, Maine has experienced a five-fold increase in incidence of Lyme disease over the past decade. There is growing interest in mitigating tick-borne disease risk via habitat management, and our research will help park managers understand how natural disturbances and management actions reduce or increase the potential for tick-borne disease transmission” Gardner said.

Dr. Smetzer is examining how Acadia National Park may provide refuge from climate change for many plant and animal species. “With its coastal position, diverse topography and habitats, and protected status in an otherwise urbanizing landscape, Acadia may be buffered from the worst impacts of climate change”, said Smetzer. She will use state-of-the-art climate and land change mapping products to identify climate change refugia for key plant, insect, and bird species in the park.

The two new fellows are the 5th and 6th SCS fellows, joining Dr. Abbey Paulson (2016), Dr. Allyson Jackson (2017), Dr. Alessio Mortelliti (2017), and Christopher Nadeau (2017).

About the Second Century Stewardship partner organizations:

Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is a close nonprofit partner to the NPS that is dedicated to advancing ecosystem science and learning for all ages. The Institute helps the NPS achieve the original vision for Acadia as a destination for science and inspiration, and seeks to be a national leader for research that inspires environmental stewardship. To learn more, visit

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

The Second Century Stewardship initiative engages in science through research fellowships and education programs for the benefit of parks and society. Click HERE for more information.