2021 Signs of the Seasons Trainings

Given the COVID-19 situation in Maine, UMaine Extension and Maine Sea Grant will be offering a mix of virtual and socially distanced in-person trainings in 2021.

This 3-part webinar series will include information about the 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. Each session will be one hour, and they will build upon one another, so we recommend attending all three, but the sessions will be recorded and shared, so participants may watch missed sessions.

  • Session I: Recorded Monday, March 22, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Session II: Recorded Wednesday, March 24, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Session III: Recorded Friday, March 26, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
View the recordings

Virtual and In-Person Trainings Co-Hosted with the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

The following sessions will be co-hosted by longstanding Signs of the Seasons partner, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. In addition to learning about the Signs of the Seasons program, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens research and education staff will provide an overview of how phenology monitoring is conducted onsite at the Reserve and the Gardens. All sessions are open to the public, but registration for in-person sessions will be limited.

Virtual Training Co-hosted by Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens:

Wednesday, May 5, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Overview of Site Selection and Online Data Entry


Signs of the Seasons Youth Volunteer Training (Ages 10-18) Co-hosted with the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Budding Naturalists Program:

Wednesday, May 12, 10:00 – 12:00 PM, Boothbay, Maine
Introduction and Hands-on Practice.
In-Person and Socially Distanced Event.
Venue: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

132 Botanical Gardens Drive
Boothbay, ME 04537 United States + Google Map


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

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

Recorded Trainings

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Training Information

Thank you for your interest in participating in 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. If you want to become an SOS Observer, please fill out the Volunteer Interest Form so that you will receive important notifications. 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.