If you’ve ever taken a photo of the stunning fall colors in Acadia National Park, it could help scientists in a new research project about how climate change is affecting the park.
Stephanie Spera, assistant professor of geography at the University of Richmond, is conducting the study over the next two years as a Second Century Stewardship fellow. Using satellite data and photographs, she will map how the onset and duration of fall foliage has changed in the park, and the relationship that has to precipitation and temperature.
“Basically we’re trying to understand how the timing and [fall] colors are changing over time in Acadia, and see if that correlates with changes in climate,” Spera said.
In addition, Spera is studying how fall foliage influences park visitation. Over the past 20 years, September and October have had the greatest increases in visitors to Acadia. To better understand why, Spera will be surveying park visitors throughout the fall to learn their motivations for visiting. Are they coming for the colorful leaves? The comfortably cool weather? Or are there other reasons to visit Acadia in the autumn?
Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.
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