We are pleased to announce the winners of the first annual PhenoChampions Award: the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Phenology Program ! This dedicated team of citizen scientists from is tracking phenology of desert plants including jojoba, saguaro cactus, and soaptree yucca to better understand the impacts of climate change and urban stressors on these species.

The Conservancy submitted a stellar application package that showcased their short, medium, and long-term outcomes, a clear set of future directions, many letters of support from participants and partners, and a great slideshow of their activities.

The Conservancy will receive a lovely Phenology Trail sign to teach the public about their effort. Read on below to find out how your group could be our next PhenoChampion!

What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Phenology highlighted in the Fourth National Climate Assessment
Phenology is highlighted in the 2018 National Climate Assessment as a 'key indicator of the effects of climate change on ecological communities.' Also included are the USA-NPN's Spring Indices, which show a shift to earlier spring leaf out and bloom across much of the country.

When did you report fall color this year?
Nature's Notebook  observers' reports of 50% of more leaf color for Green Wave species show consistent patterns with the timing of vegetation brown-down as estimated via the satellite-based MODIS sensor (base map courtesy of J. Gray, M. Friedl and D. Sulia-Menashe 2018).

Watch the USA-NPN 10 year symposium
On October 19th, we brought together USA-NPN partners and  Nature's Notebook  leaders and observers at the home of the USA-NPN's National Coordinating Office in Tucson. There we reflected on the last 10 years of the USA-NPN and envisioned the next 10 years.

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Overlooked climate variables predict flowering phenology best
Researchers at UC Santa Barbara combined herbarium records with observations contributed by Nature’s Notebook participants to assess the impact of climate variables on timing of flowering in 2,500 species of plants. The authors found that maximum temperature, the number of frost-free days, and the quantity of precipitation as snow were the best predictors of flowering time for both herbarium and observed data.

A better understanding of the climate variables that drive flowering phenology can help us anticipate how future changes in climate might impact flowering.   

Get ready for finches and other visitors
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this winter is shaping up to be a great one for backyard feeder watching. One expert predicts that this winter will be one of the best in several years for many species of finches across much of the eastern US. Birds more common in the north such as Evening Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls could head as far south as the Carolinas and Georgia this year.

Evening Grosbeak,
Photo: Tom Grey
Where have all the insects gone?
Recent studies have found a great decline in insect abundance across taxa. A new article from New York Times Magazine discusses how citizen scientists are helping to understand the decline.

More ways to get involved
Free milkweeds for restoration
The Spring 2019 application is now open for free milkweeds to use in restoration projects located in the Monarch Milkweed Corridor. Eligible projects must include two acres or more and have a land management plan.

Call for pollinator education proposals
The Pollinator Partnership's David Rockefeller Fund is seeking partners to work on the development, promotion, and roll-out of pollinator conservation and education curricula focused on K-8 students. Grants of $10,000-30,000 are available. Submissions are due Dec 14, 2018.

New list of non-native species
The first comprehensive list of non-native species has been compiled by the USGS. The list contains over 11,000 species for three large regions of the US - Alaska, Hawaii, and the conterminous US.

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Announcing the first PhenoChampions!
We are pleased to announce the winners of the first annual Local Phenology Program PhenoChampions Award: the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Phenology Program !

This dedicated team of citizen scientists has been collecting high-quality data on a suite of desert plants for the past several years. Their application received top marks for its inclusion of short, medium, and long-term outcomes, great letters of support from a variety of stakeholders and participants, and a wonderful slideshow of their activities.

Honarable mention goes to the Arnold Arboretum Tree Spotters Program, a long-running program which offers a wide variety of educational and social activities for its participants.

We invite you to apply for the 2018 PhenoChampions Award which will open early next year. Stay tuned for details!

Congrats to our newly Certified LPLs
This fall, 16 Local Phenology Leaders completed the Certification Course and are ready to launch their programs.

Congratulations to Trica Oshant Hawkins, Skylar Primm, Kristin Martin, Liz Fayer, Mitra Bryant, Anita Wah, Melissa Lau, Joia Fishman, Jessie Rack, Dan Gruhlke, Heather Veneziano, Linda Chilton, Joy Bell, Jessi Szopinski, Sierra Laverty, and Mike Sun. We can't wait to hear more about your activities!

Our next LPL Certification Course will start in January. Applications are now being accepted until December 20th.

Join the Local Phenology Leader Community of Practice
Education Coordinator, LoriAnne Barnett, hosts monthly interactive discussions for Local Phenology Leaders on topics ranging from program planning to ideas for advanced trainings for local participants. Tune in on the third Friday of the month at 10 am Pacific time. The next call on January 18th is a working meeting to create Nature's Notebook curriculum and resources for teaching about the Visualization Tool.

Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator

LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator