We're wrapping up another great year for Nature's Notebook . This year, more observers submitted data than in any other year, and at 500 more sites than in any other year. You submitted nearly 3 million records to the National Phenology Database , helping us reach the 15 million record milestone just yesterday!

We appreciate all that you do, and we continue to develop resources and tools to make your observations easier. Next year, you can look forward to a new and improved Nature's Notebook app, a major update to our Visualization Tool, and a new Observer Certification Course to test your skills!

Wishing you all the best for the New Year,
What your data are telling us
When did you report fall color this year?
Your 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).

Your data help understand climate drivers of flowering phenology
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. 

What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Share your experience with Nature's Notebook
We are still looking for responses to our Nature's Notebook survey! Your feedback will help us to better serve observers like you and also to reach out to new audiences to get more people involved with  Nature's Notebook

You will be asked about what motivates you to participate, what other interests you have, and some demographic information about yourself. It should only take 5-10 minutes.

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Sneak peek: Observer Certification Course
Next year, we will offer a new way for you to show off your Nature's Notebook skills - the Observer Certification Course! This course will walk you through how to set up sites, submit data, and edit your observations in Nature's Notebook. Once you pass the course, your data will be tagged as entered by a certified observer. Stay tuned for more next year!
Phenology highlighted in the 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.

Recent happenings in the field
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.

Watch 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
Nature's Notebook Nuggets
Explore your 2018 data
As things are quieting down for the winter in many locations, now is a great time to look back at the data you collected this year. You can use your Observation Deck phenology calendar to look at patterns over the year and compare them to last year. Our tutorial breaks down how to use the calendars.

More ways to get involved
How do you define a season?
A new article from Popular Science lays out how we define the seasons, and what happens when things shift and our historical measures of spring and other seasons no longer apply.

Photo: Gwen and James Anderson,
 Wikimedia Commons
Citizen scientists make important discoveries
Earlier this year, a citizen scientist caught a rare animal behavior on her motion-sensor camera - a skunk apparently using a rock to break through ice in a water bowl. A recent article from Anthropocene Magazine discusses how citizen scientists can help document rare natural phenomena.

Photo: USFWS Headquarters

Erin Posthumus