Field Botany of the Maine Coast: Learning to Network with the iNaturalist Community August 7 – August 13, 2022

iNaturalist has become an exciting, dynamic entryway to citizen science all across the globe, connecting biologists and all those interested in “what’s out there” in the natural world around them. Participants will botanize from the Schoodic Peninsula to the Bold Coast National Scenic Byway, learning key skills that professional biologists use to elevate iNaturalist as a scientific tool. In the evening, observations will be examined in the lab and polished before posting to iNaturalist.

The course will provide an overview and background of the iNaturalist platform, the uses of it in New England and Massachusetts, the basic unit of an observation, as well as showing the paucity of current records in the area, even for common species. Field trips will involve hikes into wild meadows, streamsides, bogs, lakeshores, rocky summits, and mossy forests, all while improving photography skills for high quality observations in iNaturalist. While the instructor’s expertise is in vascular plants, we may also capture observations of other taxa such as mosses, lichens, liverworts, algae, seaweeds, mussels, herptiles, insects and other arthropods, and birds. The course is open to all levels of experience for those with a strong interest in botany.

Participants will be able to share their own expertise with others in the course by assisting in identifications. A large selection of plant identification books will be available. Observations will serve as important and significant scientific contributions to the record of biodiversity by inclusion into the iNaturalist project “Down East and Acadia.”

Plan on bringing a camera or smart phone with a camera, either a smart phone or a laptop computer, a hand lens of 10X or higher, clothing and footwear that can be worn during fieldwork off trail.

In his seven years as State Botanist of Massachusetts, Dr. Robert Wernerehl ( has conducted numerous botanical surveys in Maine, especially along the coast, and up into New Brunswick. He has made over 1400 observations of over 900 species in iNaturalist, as well as making over 3200 identifications. Dr. Wernerehl has 30 years of conservation and botanical experience including conducting season-long rare plant surveys and ecological assessments in National Forests in the Upper Midwest. Previously, he served as an instructor at University of Wisconsin-Madison and 15 years as a private consultant. Dr. Wernerehl earned a PhD in Plant Ecology and a Bachelor of Science in Botany from the University of Wisconsin- Madison.
Class Limit - 12 participants Seminar Location - Steuben, Maine
Daily Meeting Times - Generally from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM (lunch is at 12:30), 1:30 to 5:30 (dinner is at 7:00), from 8:00 onwards is optional, though most participants spend a few hours in the classroom after dinner for assignments and/or independent studies.
Activities during the week generally combine intensive field studies and follow-up work in the lab with lectures, discussions, and a review of the current literature. Evenings are free for independent studies, presentations, and follow-up discussions.

Posted by wernerehl wernerehl, August 05, 2022 21:44


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