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Published on March 13, 2018 9:48AM

Budding citizen-scientists are invited to build their skills at a Saturday, March 17, workshop at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.

Participants will learn how to collect and report local data on precipitation and native plant seasonal changes using Oregon Season Tracker, an OSU Extension program that connects local community volunteers with OSU researchers studying weather and ecology.

Volunteers collect measurements from their backyard, on their farms or woodlands and in schoolyards, with the data then shared with researchers at OSU and across the country.

As well as tracking precipitation, volunteers record when the first leaves, flowers, fruits and leaf drop appear on native plants.

Since the program opened in 2015, more than a hundred OST rain stations have cropped up across the state, helping to fill in missing microclimate data in Oregon counties.

Among those locations is the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which has put up rain gauges and marked significant native plant species to watch for seasonal changes.

Volunteers spend about five minutes a day reporting precipitation, and about 15 minutes a week reporting plant observations.

The training costs $40 and includes an approved rain gauge. Some scholarships are available.

The workshop will run from 10 am to noon at 2820 SE Ferry Slip Road.

The registration deadline is Friday, March 16. To register, go to http://bit.ly/ORSeasonTrackerTraining or call 503-325-8573.

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