Be a citizen scientist

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If you’re interested in more than just looking up at the solar eclipse — which will probably be obscured by clouds here at the coast, anyway — you might want to look around you, instead. The Life Responds project seeks “citizen scientists” to go out in the field and record the reactions of plants and animals to the environmental changes that occur just before, during and after a total eclipse.

There have been reports that birds stop singing, spiders tear down webs and squirrels go hide in their dens, but none of these observations have been officially noted for the record. It’s all been anecdotal evidence so far, and the Life Responds project expects to change that.

Want to help? Download the iNaturalist app (links at www.inaturalist.org), create an account, then join the Life Responds project at http://tinyurl.com/LRproject, where there are full instructions. Then you, too, can participate in this “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record eclipse-related animal behavior.”

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.