As phenologists, we share a deep appreciation and love of the natural world. When it creates a storm like Harvey, we watch with mixed awe and horror and can only try to deal  with the immense destruction as  best we can. Here at USA-NPN, our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones, suffered devastation to their homes and businesses, and who face a long road ahead to repair and rebuild their lives. 

As natural disasters such as Harvey become more frequent and severe, the work you do to help understand the relationship between plants and animals and their environment remains as important as ever. Local Phenology Projects across the country are working to collect information about mismatches in plants and their pollinators, how to best control invasive species, which species will be most impacted by changes in climate, and more. We appreciate the great work that you do!




What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Learn how to explore the new Activity Curves   

We've just released a new graphing option to our Phenology Visualization Tool that makes it easier to view information about animal activity and the synchrony of animal and plant phenology. The new Activity Curves display annual patterns of the timing and magnitude of phenological activity. These are based on the   proportion of "yes" records, animal abundances per hour and other metrics, summarized over a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly period.  
Tom Luljak and Mark Schwartz, Photo: Jason Rieve
Phenology and changing spring on the radio 

USA-NPN co-founder Mark Schwartz was recently featured on WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio and discussed how the USA-NPN tracks the change in the onset of spring over time. Learn about how Mark initially developed the models we use to predict the onset of spring, why lilac data are used in these models, and the important contributions citizen scientists have made to this effort. 
USA-NPN wins award for maps of spring

The USA-NPN has received the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation recognizing our Start of Spring maps and access tools. These maps are based on decades of plant phenology data, and predict when spring has arrived across the country.
Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Photo:Tom Grey
Linking bird migration and the Spring Index

The authors of a study in Ecosphere used data from two continental-scale observation networks to explore the relationship between migratory birds and environmental cues - observations of migratory birds submitted to eBird and weather surveillance radar, which can detect large groups of migrating birds. They compared the observation data to measurements of vegetation green-up collected via satellites and the USA-NPN's Spring Leaf Index. The Spring Leaf Index was strongly related to both the estimates of bird species richness from eBird observations and migration intensity collected via weather radar. By better understanding how birds and the habitat on which they rely are responding to climate change, managers will be more equipped to take actions to promote and conserve habitat where it is needed.

More ways to get involved
Sharing stories of phenological change 

The Climate Chaser, a restored 1970 silver Boler camper, is helping researchers collect personal stories of phenological change across Minnesota. The Chaser is part of Backyard Phenology, an effort started by the Minnesota Phenology Network (MnPN). In addition to compiling personal stories, MnPN engages citizen scientists in reporting phenology data through Nature's Notebook, to better understand the impact of climate change on Minnesota's ecosystems. 

How will climate change impact trees?

Northern forests are already seeing the impact of a changing climate. A new series of handouts from the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science detail how different tree species are predicted to be affected. The handouts describe the threats that each species will likely face, such as susceptibility to drought, fire, and insect damage. 

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Tree Spotters track change over time

The Arnold Arboretum's Tree Spotters program allows citizen scientists to learn more about phenology of some of the 4,000 different plants at the Arboretum. The observations are used by Arboretum scientists to better understand the effect of climate change on plants. Tree Spotters host regular trainings in how to use Nature's Notebook. You can also check out their new recruitment video for inspiration for your own Local Phenology Project!  

Learn more » 
Phenology partners working together 

Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) interns at the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens are assisting researchers in New Mexico to get the data they need. Southwest Season Trackers is a Nature's Notebook observation campaign started by researchers at the Jornada Experimental Range who seek to collect information on phenology of grasses and shrubs in the Southwest. In an effort to increase the number of observers participating in this campaign, the YCC interns have started working with local plant nurseries in Santa Fe to promote the campaign. The interns pass out stickers and flyers that describe how people can monitor the phenology of the plants they purchase to contribute to this important effort. 
LPL Certification Course begins next month

Education Coordinator LoriAnne Barnett is gearing up for another round of our online LPL Certification Course! We will have 18 new students in the course this fall, including two new Phenology Trail Coordinators, staff from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, representatives from Botanical Gardens, and more! Are you interested in the LPL Certification Course? Add your name to the list of interested potential participants for the next round of the course which will begin in January of 2018. 

Erin Posthumus 
Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator