As part of its winter talk series, "Citizen Science in the Sheepscot Watershed," Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association (SVCA) will host an evening with Esperanza Stancioff from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant program on Wednesday, February 5, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested.

Her talk, "How Are Things Changing in Coastal Maine?" will focus on some of the current research on how climate is changing, in what ways it might change in the future, and what sort of adaptation is under way. The talk will also be an introduction to the Signs of the Seasons (SOS) Program. Through that program, volunteers document the local effects of global climate change. Hundreds of volunteers are trained to observe and record the phenology (seasonal changes) of common plants and animals living in their own communities - a citizen science project that fills a gap in regional climate research. The data collected are then made available to scientists.

All ages are welcome to attend the February 5 talk to learn more about the SOS program and how to get involved. There will be a follow-up training workshop on Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to noon for anyone who would like to become an SOS observer. Call the SVCA office at 586-5616 to register for the workshop.

Stancioff has worked at the University of Maine for 26 years designing and implementing applied research and educational programs for high-priority areas in marine and coastal ecosystems. She has a dual appointment with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant; she currently serves as lead for both organizations in climate change adaptation.