Happy 2018! We hope that as you turn a new leaf this year, you are met with budding opportunities and take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Ok, enough with the phenology puns already! Below, we share a summary of all that we accomplished together in 2017. We hope you will reflect on your 2017 activities and share your successes with us in the annual Local Phenology Program survey

We also look ahead to what this year's spring may bring. Will we see another early spring across much of the country? Or will the country continue to be split as we are seeing so far this year, with cooler than average temperatures in the east and warmer than average temperatures in the west? And how will the plants and animals that you track in Nature's Notebook respond? We can't wait to find out! 




What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
See what we accomplished together in 2017                 

Thanks to your efforts, we sailed past our goal of 2.5 million records submitted to Nature's Notebook in 2017. Our observers logged a total of 2.9 million records, and we reached the 12 million record mark in the National Phenology Database. Take a look at some of the other things we accomplished together last year in our 2017 summary. 
Track the arrival of spring at your location               

This year you can track when spring arrives in your neighborhood with our Spring Leaf Index - a  proxy of leaf-out in early-season plants that is based on many years of data on leafing of cloned lilacs. 

These status of spring maps not only tell you when spring arrived at your location, but also how this spring stacks up to a long-term average (1981-2010). You can also get a six-day forecast of when spring will 
arrive by setting the date on the Spring Indices, Current Year map to six 
days in the future on the USA-NPN Visualization Tool
New Fish & Wildlife Service Phenology Portal

We just launched a brand new website for our USFWS partner refuges. The website includes customizable phenology data dashboards for each refuge that is using  Nature's Notebook Find out  if there is a Refuge near you and see what they are finding!  
Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Photo: Katja Schulz, Flickr
Phenology of parasitic plants and their hosts

Mistletoes, a group of parasitic plants comprising over 1,500 species, have intricate relationships with different host species, pollinators, and seed dispersers to carry out their life cycle. The authors from a new study in Oecologia used data from the USA-NPN's National Phenology Database from Arizona and California to look for consistencies in the leafing, flowering, and fruiting phenology between desert mistletoe and their host plants. The authors found that mistletoes are not constrained by their hosts when it comes to phenology, 
and use diverse strategies to maintain reproductive success.

Photo: Tom Grey
Bird migration timing changing on West Coast

Authors of a new study in  The Condor: Ornithological Applications  found that the timing of bird migration along the Pacific coast in the past 20 years has shifted by more than two days in both spring and fall. Earlier spring migration and later fall migration occurred in El Nino years, characterized by warm, wet conditions.  
More ways to get involved
Tree Spotters volunteers make a difference

The Arnold Arboretum's Tree Spotters are in the news again! A new article from WGBH news in New England takes a close look at the impact that Tree Spotters volunteers are making with their phenology observations. Tree Spotters use Nature's Notebook to record data on phenology of trees at the Arnold; these data are then used by Arnold scientists to look at budding times of trees, the impact of late freezing events, and more. 

Photo: Tom Grey
Maine observers track Signs of Seasons   

Signs of the Seasons is a New England Phenology program initiated in 2010 to engage the public in observing phenology of plants and animals. A new publication in Maine Policy Review describes the program and documents important lessons learned from their initial 8 years. Signs of the Seasons is one of the longest running Nature's Notebook Local Phenology Programs, and their staff have provided invaluable feedback to help shape Nature's Notebook to what it is today. 

EPA Environment Education grants    

The Environmental Protection Agency is now taking applications for its Environmental Education Grants. Grants of $50,000 - 100,000 will be awarded to 30-35 successful applicants. These grants support environmental awareness, stewardship, and protection. Proposals due March 15, 2018.

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Photo: Karl Horak
LPP Highlight: ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden 

There are so many wonderful Local Phenology Programs using Nature's Notebook to meet their unique phenology monitoring goals. Each newsletter this year, we will highlight one of these groups. Do you want your LPP to be featured? Email erin@usanpn.org!

Nature's Notebook volunteers at the Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden can be found every Monday in the Cottonwood Gallery monitoring their plants. This group of six volunteers is extremely dedicated to collecting data on the plants they are observing as part of the Rio Grande Phenology Trail. They provide interpretation about phenology of their plants to visitors, constantly strive to improve the quality of their observations, and are extremely diligent in their data collection - they seldom miss a week!
Help us help you via our LPP Annual Survey

January means it's time to complete your annual Local Phenology Program survey! Your feedback give us a better sense of how you are using Nature's Notebook so that we can share your ideas with other groups like yours. Your responses also help us to develop new and improved resources to help you achieve your goals. 

When you complete your survey you will receive our brand new, customizable infosheet to help tell others about your program! You will also be entered into a raffle to win a Nature's Notebook swag bag. 

Complete the survey » 
It's a great time to make an annual report!

Now is a great time to create an Annual Phenology Report for your Local Phenology Program. You can see our recommendations for what to include in a Phenology Report in our Phenology Report Guide. The Guide includes instructions on how to use the USA-NPN's visualization tools to easily make summaries and graphs to include in your report. 

Don't forget to share your report with us when it's done!

View the Phenology Report Guide » 

Erin Posthumus 
Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator