We have been humbled by the  dedication of phenology observers like you who continue to track phenology despite new challenges from all directions. Despite a drop in our Nature's Notebook participants this spring, we've seen a spike in new monitoring sites and an increase in activity per observer. That means that those of you who are able to continue tracking phenology are more devoted than ever before.

Perhaps, like our team at the USA-NPN, you find solace in stepping outside to see the progression of plant and animal activity that unfolds each season. We are so grateful for all of your important contributions.

What your data are telling us
The start of spring season was early - what about the rest?
The start of spring this year was the earliest in four decades in some locations. But how did spring play out? According to USA-NPN Director Theresa Crimmins, spring was much shorter than average in some locations (including parts of the high-mountain West and mid-Atlantic coastal plain) and longer than average in much of the Northeast, northern Ohio and Indiana and central Montana. See how these patterns are reflected in your data submitted to Nature's Notebook in Theresa's Ecology & Evolution blog piece .

Phenology helps control invasive species
In order to better target the timing of control of invasive  Vebesina enceliodes , a team of staff and volunteers at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge began collecting phenology data to identify how much time they had in between when the plant starts to grow and when it drops its seeds. After a year of data collection with  Nature's Notebook , the team determined the number of days they could allow between treatments and adjusted their schedules accordingly. This study demonstrates the potential for data collected by volunteer scientists to inform ecological restoration.

Photo: Ann Humphrey, USFWS
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Nature's Notebook mobile app course
Our  Observer Certification Course provides instructions to help you get started using  Nature's Notebook , or provide a refresher if you need one! We've just released the second module which provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the  Nature's Notebook mobile app. You will learn how to use the app to set up your account, create sites, add plants and animals, and enter and review observations. Please note that you will need to be logged into your  Nature's Notebook account to take the course.

Pesky Plant Trackers campaign
Pesky Plant Trackers is a new campaign tracking phenology of invasive wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed in the Midwest and Northeast regions. The data will be used by researcher Rebecca Montgomery of University of Minnesota to help predict activity of these species and improve treatment. Abbie Anderson and the rest of the team at UNM have created a detailed training course to teach you how to observe these species.

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Celebrating pollinators of all kinds
June 22 - 28th was Pollinator Week, and many organizations shared great resources about pollinators of all kinds. Read about beetle and moth pollinators on the Xerces Society blog , Audubon's article on the importance of birds as pollinators , and Forbes' article on how protecting pollinators can secure the global food supply .

Robins now migrate 12 days early
Authors of a new study in  Environmental Research Letters found that since 1994, American Robins have been migrating about 5 days earlier per decade. Robins use local environmental cues to know when to keep moving north, such as snow melt, which has allowed them to keep pace with the shifting seasons. What is still unknown is whether there is a limit to this behavioral flexibility with further changes in climate.

American Robin
Nature's Notebook Nuggets
Are two plants better than one?
For your Nature’s Notebook plant observations, we ask you to observe two to three individuals of each plant species at each of your sites, if you have them available. Observing more than one individual plant allows you to capture the individual variation in phenological events that can be caused by many factors including genetics and microclimate. It will produce a more accurate picture of the timing of phenophases for a species at your site.

Photo: Ellen G Denny
More ways to get involved
Black Birders Week
In response to a racist incident involving a birder in Central Park last month, a new initiative was started to highlight recognition and representation of Black people who study and enjoy the outdoors. Watch recorded livestream videos with Black birders from across the US, read about the challenges they face in their work, and discover great resources that Black birders are creating. One of my favorites - Birds of North America with Jason Ward , a series on YouTube highlighting Jason's travels around the US to meet with bird enthusiasts.

Session 2 of Birding While Black, Livestream available on
Bees can force plants to flower early
Authors of a new article in Science found that when bumblebees emerge early from hibernation and find plants flowerless and without pollen, they can coax plants into flowering by punching holes in their leaves. This trick may be able to help them cope with climate change.

Photo: Douglas Young
Erin Posthumus