March 2021
A Message from Chief Scientist & Observatory Director Dr. Paula Mabee
February marked one year that I have been with NEON! I have greatly enjoyed my work with the Observatory, and I'm pleased to be part of a group focused on enabling discovery and never-before-tackled science. Thank you NEON, Battelle, and the whole science community for making my first year as your Observatory Director the best it could be. I am so proud of what our staff have done, and of where we are going in 2021 and beyond.
Speaking of looking forward, spring is rapidly approaching! The collection season has already begun in our warmer Domains, and the last few months have been quite busy across the Observatory preparing for the rest of the year. We’ve launched a new Training Center for our field staff, and our Airborne Observation Platforms are being prepped for flight season!
In case you missed them, we’ve had a slew of webinars and presentations. The recorded events are linked in this Newsletter below, under Updates. Particularly, we had a fantastic webinar about our Mobile Deployment Platforms and how researchers can request their own mini NEON field site. I urge you to give them a listen. We also have several more in the next few months, so please keep checking in with our upcoming events.
As always, I hope you are staying safe and well!

Observing and predicting mosquito phenology could answer important questions about relationships between climate, insect activity, and the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. These relationships can be explored with phenology data from NEON and the National Phenology Network (USA-NPN).
Dr. Jennifer Balch, a Fire Ecologist at University of Colorado Boulder, is studying wildfire-impacted areas in the western U.S. to answer burning questions about forest recovery and carbon storage potential. Her work could lead to improved models of the impact of wildfires on atmospheric carbon levels and climate change.
Have you used NEON data, samples, or infrastructure? Please contact us about your research and we'd be happy to write a blog article featuring your work as well as add your papers to our publications list.
In the middle of North America, the eastern forests give way to the tallgrass prairie. This is the Prairie Peninsula (D06), in the heartland of the U.S. Sometimes called "America's Breadbasket," this region provides ample opportunity to study the impact of agriculture and land management practices on tallgrass prairie ecosystems. It also provides a unique view of a transitional zone between the prairies and the eastern deciduous forest.
MDPs are mobile, modular NEON field stations that can go practically anywhere with road access. They put the power of NEON's instrumented systems into the hands of PIs, academic institutions, and research organizations.

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and NEON have developed an open resource onboarding document geared to support researchers beginning their postdoctoral work with NEON - it can be easily adapted for other early career scientists entering roles.

Happy World Wildlife Day! At the NEON program, we are lucky enough to share our workspaces with all kinds of wild creatures, great and small. And while we only collect data on a few (mosquitos, ticks, beetles, small mammals, birds, and fish, to be specific), we celebrate them all.

Our list of 'NEON Women to Watch' honors women we highlighted this past year whose educational and professional experiences provide a fascinating glimpse into women's paths in academic science, the crucial role of mentors and advocates in a student's development, and how the field can be more inclusive going forward.

The pandemic has created new challenges for educators—but that doesn't mean learning has to stop. The Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) collaborated with the NEON program in 2020 to create a series of Flexible Learning Projects that enable students to practice hands-on field ecology wherever they are—on campus or at home.

AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange Program has welcomed the newest cohort of Community Science Fellows, and first in partnership with NEON! This cohort is comprised of field staff across 12 of NEON’s Domains. Beginning in February 2021, they will be conducting outreach to communities within their Domains, and ultimately working with them to launch collaborative, co-developed community science projects that produce on-the-ground impact through application of NEON’s data and resources.

SciTeens is the brainchild of founders Carlos Mercado-Lara and John Sutor, who started the organization in 2018 when they were high school seniors. Their mission is to make free STEM resources – including data science resources – accessible to all students through online curricula, outreach, and mentoring. They leveraged ecological data from the NEON program to create their first data science projects.

NEON and the Ecological Society of America established a NEON-ESA Early Career Scholars (NECS) program for 2020 to support a group of early career scholars attending ESA2020. The chosen scholars received registration to the Annual Meeting, which centered on the theme of "Harnessing the ecological data revolution," and benefited from virtual networking with NEON.

Forbes, March 24, 2021

Microbioz India, March 17, 2021

Rensselaer News, March 16, 2021 - press release

The Daily Times, February 20, 2021

Nebraska Today, February 18, 2021

The Conversation, February 3, 2021

NASA Earth Observatory, February 3, 2021

February 19: NEON staff participated in a Cyverse Learning Webinar: Bright Lights, Big Data: Leveraging NEON's Resources Using Cyverse. They highlighted NEON data and resources, and discussed ways to use CyVerse to support the increased storage and computational demands required for analyzing NEON's larger datasets. View the recorded webinar.

March 4: NEON Domain 07 Field Ecologist Sarah Szito presented to the 2021 GSMNP Science Colloquium about plant community data from NEON's Great Smoky Mountains National Park field site. View the recorded webinar.

March 4: NEON staff joined the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) for a webinar: "Accessing NEON's Environmental Sample Archives, Applying JGI & EMSL Omics Tools to Solve Biological Grand Challenges." View the recorded webinar.

March 16: NEON staff held a webinar to discuss NEON's MDPs. Participants learned how to request an MDP, what measurements it can take, costs, potential use cases, and more. View the recorded webinar.

March 24: How and where should you get started with NEON data and resources? This 1-hour webinar introduces you to the NEON Observatory and provides an overview of our most essential resources to help you get started using NEON data for your own research, learning, and teaching. View the recorded webinar.

NEON operations and restrictions due to COVID-19 vary across the Observatory and are conducted with required PPE, temperature checks, and other safety precautions in place for staff and surrounding communities. NEON Leadership is continually assessing conditions across the Observatory. Read current operational status updates.

NEON offers a variety of tools and resources for instructors and faculty moving to online teaching. We realize that these are challenging times for our communities around the globe to delivery high quality education in novel online teaching environments. The data and resources from NEON are naturally suited for teaching ecological concepts and skills in both synchronous and asynchronous learning situations. Browse NEON's Learning Hub.

The NEON program generates ecological data on an unprecedented scale. Making sense of that data often requires sophisticated analytical techniques and computer programs. But if you’re not a coder, don’t worry—open source coding resources and community-made custom programs make NEON data more accessible to the ecology community. These resources are now being compiled in the NEON Code Resources Library. Learn more.

Join NEON & the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) for an informal chat with researchers using NEON data to examine carbon storage and cycling in ecosystems within Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia. Find out who they are, how they got interested in ecological carbon research, and the research questions they are asking. Learn more and register.

This workshop introduces participants to NEON, teaches them how to access and work with NEON data, and allows them to interact with NEON science staff to get assistance working on the specific data products they are interested in using. The workshop includes hands-on, interactive instruction on how to access and work with NEON data, both through the NEON data portal and programmatically. Learn more and register.

NEON's STEAC is an advisory body to the NEON Program that provides strategic advice to Battelle, the NEON Principal Investigator (PI), and NEON Program staff on the planning and operation of the NEON Program and other relevant programs. We are seeking nominees that represent a diversity of institution types, expertise, backgrounds, perspectives, identities, and career stages. In particular, we are seeking scientists with specialization in organismal biology, remote sensing, and cyberinfrastructure. Please consider nominating yourself or a peer by April 1! Information on how to submit nominations
More and more researchers are using NEON data! Publications that use NEON data and resources are identified and imported into a public Zotero library, where they are tagged to make them easy to query.

View the newest publications here.
Learn how to find papers of interest here.

Knowing how NEON’s data, samples, and infrastructure are used in research is important to measure the program’s success. Please report your publications and related projects here and learn how to cite NEON here. If you know of a publication not included in the list, please notify us.

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