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Stephanie Spera, a professor of geography and the environment, began her career as a researcher poring over satellite images of Mars as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis. She’s since turned her sights closer to home, but she’s still interested in images — possibly including some of your photos.

Spera is studying shifts in the fall foliage season of Acadia National Park in Maine, with support from a fellowship from the National Park Service and research assistance by M. Olivia Hubert, ’19. They’re tracking when the leaves start changing, how vibrant the colors are, and how long they stay colorful, she said.

“Understanding the interaction between climate, fall foliage, and park visitorship is important for the environment itself, park management, and local economies.” The research team has multiple sources for tracking recent and future foliage at the park’s Mount Desert Island, including satellite imagery going back to 2000 and an abundant collection of terrestrial photos taken in the last decade.

However, pre-2000 data is scarce. They’ve found only about 10 photos from the 1980s, she told Newscenter Maine, a regional NBC affiliate.

That’s where your photos might come in. The team is crowdsourcing to find old photos of the park to help validate historical satellite data and to create a record that predates that imagery. They’re welcoming photos from the 1950s through the present day, and they don’t mind being inundated. (See sidebar for details.)

“The more photos we get, the better,” she said.