2020 Signs of the Seasons Trainings

Given the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation in Maine, UMaine Extension is making the decision to cancel the following trainings.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Esperanza Stancioff at 207.832.0343 or

Date: Monday, March 16, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Location: Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, Falmouth

Date: Monday, March 23, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Location: Audubon Fields Pond Station, Holden

Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Location: SeDoMoCha Middle School, 63 Harrison Avenue, Dover-Foxcroft

Date: Monday, April 27, 2020
Time: 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Location: Laudholm Farm at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells

Please fill out our Volunteer Interest Form to receive notifications of future training opportunities.

All trainings are free and open to the public, but we ask that you register to help us be prepared for the appropriate number of people. Registration for the 2020 trainings will be managed through an online form that will be linked below.

We try to offer a range of dates, locations, and times to meet everyone’s schedule but it doesn’t always work out. If you cannot attend one of the scheduled events, please fill out the Volunteer Interest Form to receive notification of future trainings.

Training Information

Thank you for your interest in participating in one of our volunteer training events! Each training includes a wealth of information including: introduction to phenology, importance of studying phenology in a changing climate, relevance of indicator species to New England, and how to set up a site and start observing. While these trainings are designed with the new volunteer in mind, previously trained volunteers are always welcome to come for a refresher.

SOS trainings are typically held in early spring, February through May, to prepare observers to capture the excitement of the spring season, but exact timing varies. We make every effort to spread out the locations of the training events to be as accessible as possible for interested participants. If you want to become an SOS Observer but are not available on the days that we have scheduled trainings, please fill out the Volunteer Interest Form so that you will receive notifications about future trainings. We can also add your email to our mailing list to receive newsletters and program updates, but please alert us in the comment section of the Interest Form.

We offer two types of trainings: Upland (i.e., terrestrial) and Coastal Rockweed.

  • Upland trainings are the most popular: there are 22 indicator species to choose from, sites can be easily established in backyards or other nearby locations,
  • Coastal trainings are specific to observing Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum): highly rewarding but more intricate protocol, requires reasonable proximity to coastal sites.

Reach out to us if you have questions about these programs! Contact Information.