As spring starts to take hold across the country, we are so grateful to those of you who have rallied from the myriad challenges of the past year to continue tracking phenology of plants and animals. Already this year, 1,700 of you have contributed data to the National Phenology Database, which is nearing 25 million records thank you for your efforts!

Your data are incredibly valuable, as was evidenced in a recent webinar by our Director Theresa Crimmins. Our 2020 Annual Report shares some of the other ways that your data help to further the USA-NPN mission of supporting science and management, communicating and connecting, and growing a more equitable and inclusive network.

You likely saw our recent email about our current funding challenges. We want to assure you that we are in no immediate danger of closing our doors; we intend to be here for the long haul! But we could use your help in showing potential funders just how much our network means to all of you. Please consider signing our petition to show your support.

With gratitude,
What your data are telling us
Learn how your data are used
Do you ever wonder what happens to your Nature's Notebook data after you hit that Submit button? In our webinar this past February, Director Theresa Crimmins shared many examples of the discoveries that scientists are making with the data you collect.

Do flowers foreshadow beetle activity?
Managers have traditionally used dogwood blooms as an indicator of when to set out traps, recognizing that dogwood flowering tended to coincide with the beetle’s springtime dispersal. Using observations contributed to Nature’s Notebook, researchers determined that dogwood flowering is not presently a strong indicator of southern pine beetle spring emergence, and the reason for this might be recent changes in climate conditions.

Photo: Chiot's Run
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
2020 Highlights from the Network
2020 was a challenging year, but we also accomplished so much together! Our 2020 Annual Report highlights four examples of how we worked with our partners and observers like you to advance science, inform decisions, communicate and connect, and create an equitable and inclusive network.

Track flowering and fruiting of redbuds
Eastern redbud is one of the earliest trees to flower in eastern forests. A new effort led by researcher Dr. Jorge Santiago-Blay seeks to understand the timing of flowering and fruiting of redbuds across their range, and whether that timing is changing. Have a redbud near you? Join us in this effort!

Photo: Pennington Thom
Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Climate change cues earlier nesting
Early spring warming followed by a cold snap can cause large negative impacts for nesting birds. In 2016, a cold snap in Ithaca, NY killed more than 70% of baby tree swallows. You can listen to the story on Yale Climate Connections.

Photo: Tom Grey
Nature's Notebook Nuggets
Should you say "yes" to multiple phenophases at once?
When making Nature’s Notebook observations for your species, each of the phenophase observation questions should be treated individually. Your answer to each phenophase question, even though the observation may seem similar to another observation question, may help to discern behavior patterns for the species at a future time. Each observation recorded helps analysts to tease out those specific species’ behaviors. So, it is important to record answers to seemingly similar questions.

Open flowers and breaking leaf buds in red maple,
Photo: Ellen G Denny
More ways to get involved
The value of long, LONG term records
This spring, the peak in sakura, or cherry blossoms, in Japan was the earliest in a 1,200 year record. According to data from Osaka University, the peak bloom occurred on March 26th, weeks earlier than the historically average date of mid-April. This extremely long-term record demonstrates the impact of increasing temperatures on these culturally important trees.

Photo: Kyodo via Reuters
Children's books for nature lovers
Christine Petersen of the Star Tribune out of Minneapolis, MN has put together a list of four picture books that highlight seasonal changes. For kids and kids at heart!

Illustration by Nick Wroblewski within
"Hush Hush, Forest"
by Mary Casanova
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator