Contribution starting at $3,200
Exported from Streamline App (
7 days (avg. $457 a day) Includes accommodations, food, and all related research costs
Climate Change

Climate Change: Sea to Trees at Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, Maine, United States Map it
Activity Level
Housing Varies
Chef-prepared meals
climate change at acadia national park
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volunteers at acadia national park
volunteer studying climate change at acadia national park
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climate change at acadia national park
volunteers at acadia national park
volunteers at acadia national park
volunteer studying climate change at acadia national park
volunteers in acadia national park
acadia national park
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Help researchers add to over 120 years of data, revealing how our reliance on fossil fuels affects one of America’s most beautiful places.

studying climate change in acadia national parkThe granite mountains and craggy coasts of the islands that make up Acadia are famous for their beauty and wildlife. This is classic, unspoiled New England. Our partner, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, is based near the tip of Schoodic Point, feet away from the crashing surf.

Acadia is home to a stunning diversity of wildlife. It is on a bird “superhighway,” a route heavily traveled by birds that migrate between Canada and South America. Researchers have recorded 23 species of warblers alone here. The park’s lakes and coastal waters also provide a home for 30 fish species and a wide array of invertebrates, such as sea stars and urchins.

But global changes–like warming temperatures and ocean acidification–are significantly impacting the park, threatening the diversity of wildlife within. Acadia’s scientists have compiled over 120 years of detailed natural history observations to compare current patterns to. On this expedition, you'll help collect similar data that can be compared to this extended time-series data set, revealing how a changing climate influences Acadia. Few places in the country have such a rich pool of observations to draw from and make comparisons to.

Help scientists tell the story of how humans are reshaping Acadia, which they hope will inspire management actions that will help safeguard this iconic National Park.



A Typical Itinerary

  • DAY 1  Meet at rendezvous, travel to Schoodic Institute, Project introduction and safety overview
  • Introduction to research site and lab, research methods, and species identification training.
  • Safety briefing
  • Learn to use iNaturalist, eBird, and other helpful citizen science apps
  • Collect data on intertidal and/or forest biodiversity.
  • Continue biodiversity data collection at different forest and/or intertidal sites.
  • Safety briefing
  • 1–2 research presentations or lectures.
  • DAY 7  Departure




Explore the coastline and the forests of the Schoodic Peninsula at Acadia National Park as you:


Hike to observe birds, plants, and insects
Hike to observe birds, plants, insects, and intertidal organisms

While covering about two miles a day, you'll identify and record forest edge and intertidal zone species and some bird species that visit or inhabit this edge.

hiking to observe birds plants and insects
Record flowering shrubs

You will record when native shrubs important to migrating birds flower and bear fruit.


survey the crab populations at acadia national park
Survey crab populations

You will hunt for crabs in the intertidal zone, counting the number of invasive green crabs and native Jonah crabs. You will learn to use citizen science apps such as iNaturalist and eBird to record biodiversity data that can then be accessed and used by researchers and park managers.

Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.




5 Reviews on this Expedition

If you have been on this expedition, others considering attending would love to hear about your experience.
Frank Sanford |
The growing season in Maine has increased by a month in the past 50 years. What does this mean for migrating birds that feed on berries in Maine? On this trip, you will learn how scientists are trying to measure the impacts of climate change on our reduced bird population. The accommodations are fantastic, only surpassed by the food – a lobster dinner thrown in! Schoodic Institute, located in Acadia National Park, is a beautiful destination along the coast. Finally, the lead scientists and their assistants are knowledgeable, helpful, and accommodating to each individual's needs.
Ranee Duncan |
Acadia National Park is remarkable for its beauty, with an almost magical blend of Northern Forest with rugged Maine coastline. I was overdue in revisiting Acadia, and delighted to have the opportunity to experience it while contributing to important scientific research. Our team of volunteers participated in vegetation surveys that will help in understanding how shifts in climate are changing the fruiting of the plants, and that data is being shared as part of a larger study, tracking the movement and habits of birds along the Atlantic Flyway. We also surveyed sections of the rocky and muddy intertidal zones, and spent a smaller amount of time in the lab, identifying invertebrates collected from the vegetation plots. We were led by a team of dedicated and dynamic researchers who were always available to not only assist us with identifying the target species, such as huckleberry and common seaweeds, but also to share their widespread knowledge and love of this inspiring ecosystem. They patiently and appreciatively answered our work-specific as well as far-reaching questions, whether in the lab, the field, or the cafeteria. Accommodations were comfortable, meals were plentiful and customizable, and the campus paths were easy and enjoyable to wander on and off duty. We also enjoyed getting to know this quieter section of the heavily visited park. A National Park Ranger joined us one of the evenings and we learned about the history of scientific observation at Acadia. Knowing we were participating in these continuing studies added meaning to our daily tasks. And lessons in using various natural history phone apps gave us easy tools to continue with citizen science observations at home, in anticipation of our next expeditions in the future!
Jan Kleinman |
If you like cool trips rather than hot ones, and if you like hiking in uninhabited, quiet, revealing places, and if you have any interest in trees and how they help us understand our changing planet, this is your trip. You will wear long sleeves most days without any regret. You will visit islands not visited often in recent generations. You will bushwhack- so bring your walking stick! You will learn how to identify trees, what trees and their habitat can show us about our planet, and how you can continue being a citizen scientist back at home using your new skills. I learned a lot and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

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Feature Article

Trees in the Tundra

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