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Citizen Science: Document sea level with the Harpswell King Tide Project

By Heather Logan

The uniting theme for 2020 at Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) is engagement. Click here for more articles on this topic. We hope you will get involved by observing and learning about nature, attending an event, volunteering and more!

One way you might like to engage is to become a citizen scientist. Armed with your smartphone, you can visit several of the trails and preserves in Harpswell and collect data for the Harpswell King Tide project. It’s a fun and easy way to make a difference.

As a recent returnee from the west, I have been reacquainting myself with the trails and coves of Harpswell. While exploring the Little Ponds Preserve on Bethel Point, I noticed a small stand and a box, similar to those marking the start of HHLT trails. There is a similar set by the Basin Cove picnic table at Curtis Farm preserve. Upon investigation, I found a pamphlet explaining Anecdata and how to join. It was easy to download and use and helped me combined my visits to HHLT sites with learning about King Tides.

Maybe you’ve noticed that not all high and low tides are the same. King Tide refers to an especially high tide. Understanding King Tides helps us understand the impact of rising sea levels and storm surges.

To engage with this project, you are collecting data on the sea level during the King Tide by simply taking three pictures using the stand provided and uploading them using the phone app: Anecdata.

The first step is to download the app onto your smartphone. Then you need to create an account. Once you are logged in, simply search for the Harpswell King Tide Project by clicking on “find more projects.” Anyone can join the project. The Harpswell King Tide project is “collecting photographic data showing the impact of rising seas on roads, bridges, property and ecosystems on the highest tides in Harpswell, ME.”

Some of you may want to know who is behind this phone app for privacy reasons. This phone application has its roots in Maine! It was developed on Mount Desert Island at the MDI Biological Laboratory.

As for me, this app has encouraged me to collect information about our highest tides. A bonus feature is that I have discovered new coves and tidal areas. As we share concern for rising sea levels and storm surges, this may be one way to be better informed on their impact right here in Harpswell. I hope you will look for the stands and download Anecdata. Explore all the other projects you can get involved with on the app that may interest you and your family. It is fun and easy to engage as a citizen scientist by snapping those photos on your phone!

Click here to read more about the project on the town website.

January 2020