It has been an exciting spring season for phenology! I continue to be impressed by the breadth and depth of research being conducted by this community. Read below about recent studies integrating herbarium and NPN data, evaluating false spring, and presenting a python modeling frameworkI hope to have the opportunity to interact with many of you at the upcoming ESA meeting in August and learn more about your work. And, be sure to submit an abstract to an AGU phenology session

Over the past few months at the USA-NPN we released our annual report, revamped the Nature's Notebook mobile application, received a communication award, launched an observer certification course, and were featured on American Spring LIVE. You can learn about an exciting new job opportunity with the network below.

Stay tuned for a new invasive plant forecast and improved Visualization Tool coming later this summer. Warmly,

What's new at the USA National Phenology Network
2018 Annual report 

Three million observation records were submitted to the National Phenology Database in 2018 and 10 scientific papers were published using USA-NPN data and products.  Download the report to learn more about how the network meets its goals to Advance Science, Inform Decisions, and Communicate & Connect. 

USA-NPN featured on American Spring LIVE

American Spring LIVE  was a three-night nature broadcast event that presents the change from winter to spring in real time from iconic locations across America. The show aired April 29-May 1 and full episodes can be viewed at

The third and final episode on May 1st, "Connections", featured the USA-NPN's  Track a Lilac  project. This is a special project that invites the public to submit one-time observations of leafing and flowering in lilacs .

Status of Spring page wins USGS award

The USA-NPN  Status of Spring webpage has won the US Geological Survey's 2018 Shoemaker Award for Communications Product Excellence in the Webpage/Website category! This award recognizes the best efforts among USGS programs to communicate science to non-technical audiences. The Status of Spring webpage is a powerful tool that provides a clear and engaging way to track the progression of spring across the country.

Data and data products
How did spring stack up this year? 

How often have we seen a spring like this year? A new feature on the  Status of Spring  page communicates how typical the timing of spring in the current year is relative to the long-term record.  In the map to the right, the darker green and purple colors represent locations where spring was unusually early or late.  These maps were recently featured in an article in the Washington Post

Certified observers increase data quality 

A new program allows  Nature's Notebook  observers to hone their skills in an online training course. Once participants pass the course  their observations will be tagged in the database as submitted by a  Certified Observer. If you are a data user curious about data quality, you can treat these data with extra confidence!

Job opportunity with the USA-NPN  

The USA-NPN is hiring an Application Systems AnalystThe candidate's primary responsibilities will be maintaining and enhancing existing web infrastructure and database in order to support incoming data streams and the development of data products from USA-NPN's Nature's Notebook plant and animal phenology program. 

The position is part time with the potential to increase to full time.   Please help us share this opportunity!
Upcoming meetings   
Research spotlight
Herbarium data in global phenology portal

Brenskelle and colleagues published a paper in  Applications in Plant Sciences  that describes a long-term dataset of black cherry flowering that was collected from annotated herbarium sheets and integrated into the Global Plant Phenology Data Portal.  

This new addition to the portal was possible due to the Plant Phenology Ontologywhich provides a framework with a standardized vocabulary to integrate data from different sources.   This effort enabled this investigation of long-term changes in flowering by combining a long-term herbarium dataset with contemporary USA-NPN data. 

Understanding risk of false springs 

A recent paper in Global Change Biology  reviewed different metrics of false springs and circumstances where plants are at the highest risk of frost damage.  This study by Chamberlain and colleagues leveraged the Spring Index models as one of multiple approaches for calculating a False Spring Index. 

This research highlights the need for incorporating frost risk into ecosystem-scale studies and more research to understand species-level responses. 

New python package for phenology models 

A new python packaged described in an article by Shawn Taylor provides code for model selection and comparison, and comes pre-loaded with several phenology datasets.  This code drives the phenology models that forecast life cycle events presented on 


Kathy Gerst
Associate Research Scientist
Data Product Coordinator