Dear {First Name},

Happy late summer - I can't believe we are almost into fall already! I hope this summer season has been good to you. This summer - and the preceding several months - have been good for the USA-NPN. I'm very excited to share that we now have over 30M records of phenology available for your use! The 30 millionth record was submitted on August 9 by a student at Desert View High School in Tucson, AZ who reported "yes" to young leaves of desert willow. This milestone feels especially sweet as we rebound from the challenges presented by COVID in 2020. In 2021, Nature's Notebook participants contributed more phenology observations than in any previous year of the program's existence!

This growing phenology data resource is increasingly being used to support scientific discovery and immediate decision-making, as our team describes in a recent article in BioScience. We also highlight just a few of the many incredible examples of scientific discovery, decision making, and engagement taking place using USA-NPN data and resources in our 2021 Annual Report. I am filled with gratitude that we have so many great forms of engagement to share. Thank you for all that you do!

What's new at the USA National Phenology Network

How are Nature's Notebook phenology observations used?

The phenology observations contributed by Nature's Notebook participants have enabled an increasingly diverse suite of scientific discoveries and management decisions. In a recent BioScience article, we describe the taxonomic, geographic, and seasonal dimensions of the data contributed through Nature's Notebook and the types of questions these data help to answer.

Learn more »

Read the article »

Student conducting phenology observations.

Phenology 2022 summary

The triennial international phenology meeting -- Phenology 2022-- took place in Avignon, France in June, and was attended by phenology enthusiasts from all over Europe, Canada, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, China, Japan, the U.S., and more. Meeting organizers are currently compiling photos and copies of presentations onto a website; once available, we will share the link. 

The International Phenology Commission is currently soliciting nominations for the next convening of this meeting, in 2025. 

Learn more »

Do campaign emails improve phenology observations?

An unplanned interruption in the email messages we sent to urge observers to report on lilacs allowed us to look at the impact of our messages on the accuracy and precision of phenology data. We found that observers who opened the messages had more accurate reports of leaf out with greater precision (fewer days between that last "no" and first "yes"). These insights help us focus our efforts to ensure the highest possible data quality for use by folks like you!

Learn more »

USA-NPN joined the Monarch Joint Venture partnership

The USA-NPN is now a member of the Monarch Joint Venture partnership, a nonprofit organization and a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. This extended partnership enables efforts such as the Desert Refuge project, a collaborative between USA-NPN and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and funded by MJV to track winter phenology in monarchs and milkweeds in Arizona.

Learn more about the partnership with MJV »

Learn more about the Desert Refuge effort »

Data and data products

Major advancement in data quality: the complete Observer Certification Course is live!

The Observer Certification Course is now complete! This set of modules is intended to help observers collect the highest quality phenology observations in Nature's Notebook. Observers who complete all 5 modules earn a "Certified Observer" tag in the database, and all records contributed by "Certified Observers" are flagged as such.

Please note: a Nature's Notebook account is required to view the modules.

See the modules »

Data cleaning guidance added to rnpn

It's true... sometimes erroneous reports make their way into the USA-NPN's National Phenology Database. Need some help figuring out which records might best be filtered out of your analysis? We can help! We recently added the Data Cleaning vignette to our R package, rnpn. The vignette describes four approaches to data cleaning that apply to USA-NPN Observational data, including identifying conflicting records, excluding data based on a prior "no" report, identifying multiple onsets in a single season, and removing outliers.

Learn more »

Research Spotlight

Citizen science observations spanning 200 years reveal clear changes in plant phenology

Authors of a new study in the Journal of Ecology compared a historical dataset of plant phenology recorded in New York state from 1826-1872 to contemporary observations collected through Nature’s Notebook from 2009-2017. On average, plants flower 10.5 days earlier and leaf out 19 days earlier now than 200 years ago. The authors found impacts of urbanization, greater advancement of flowering timing in earlier season species, greater advancement in trees and shrubs than forbs, and greater advancement in insect-pollinated species. The standardized observations you record in Nature’s Notebook are invaluable for understanding the direction and magnitude of changes in the timing of life cycle events of plants and animals.

Learn more »


NEON phenology data resource is expanding taxonomically 

For several years, plant phenology data has been regularly and meticulously collected at National Ecological Observatory Network sites on a few species. This year, plant phenology monitoring was expanded from three to 20 or more species at a site! This more diverse dataset, collected following USA-NPN protocols, is accessible through both NEON and USA-NPN. 

Are you using NEON phenology data in your publications? You might be, if you use data accessed from the USA-NPN. If you are, be sure to contact Zoe Gentes, NEON Marketing and Communication Specialist, to be covered in the NEON blog!

Learn more about NEON's plant phenology monitoring »

Fall LPL Course

Local Phenology Programs are an ideal option for instructors wishing to engage students in tracking phenology as part of a course. Do you need some guidance to get things set up and running? Enroll in our 10-week online Local Phenology Leader Certification Course running this Sept-Nov! Volunteer Engagement Coordinator Samantha Brewer will lead you through program planning activities, show you how to set up your sites, plants/animals in Nature's Notebook, and help you create tools for recruiting and training volunteers. 

If the idea of engaging students strikes you but the Course does not, please reach out, we are happy to help you get set up through other means.

Learn more about the Course »

Apply to participate in the course »

Nature's Notebook webinar: How are these data used?

Researchers and managers use phenology observations contributed through Nature's Notebook in an increasingly diverse set of applications. USA-NPN staff will again share some of the ways these data have been used in recent publications and decisions. Join us to hear more on Tues, Sep 20 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern. And if you use Nature's Notebook data in your work, be sure to let us know!

Register for the webinar »

Free phenology e-book this month

Mark Hineline's book, Ground Truth: A Guide to Tracking Climate Change at Home, is available as a free e-book from Chicago University Press for the month of August. This book, which walks readers through going outside and paying attention as well as the history of phenology, has been described as both "pragmatic and emotionally resonant". 

Download the book »

Upcoming meetings

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Dec 12-16, 2022. Chicago, IL and online.

International Congress of Biometeorology, May 14-17, 2023. Phoenix, AZ

Theresa Crimmins
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