Issue: Summer 2021

It's been a summer of extremes across much of the country. The phenology data that you are collecting on National Wildlife Refuges will help scientists understand the impacts of fires, floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events on the plants and animals your refuge supports. Thank you for doing this important work!

Looking for a little help getting your phenology monitoring up and running? Check out our Local Phenology Leader Certification Course, a 10-week, online course that walks you though planning and implementing a phenology program at your refuge. We still have a few spots available for the course starting up at the end of this month. Apply by this Friday!

Phenology on the Refuges
Gulf Coast Phenology Trail 2020 Report
2020 was a challenging year, but observers on the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail persisted in collecting data on native and invasive trees and shrubs and migrating birds and butterflies. After four years of data collection, they are starting to see patterns including differences in flower timing in red maples between sites, and new leaves produced in yaupon holly and wax myrtle following animal herbivory.

Pollinator Restoration kickoff webinar
Do you work on pollinator restoration in the South Central Region? We are launching a new project with collaborators in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana called Time to Restore: Connecting People, Plants, and Pollinators aimed at providing enhanced guidance to aid selection of nectar plants. Our online Kickoff Workshop on October 12th from 12 - 2 pm CT will provide an overview of the project as well as address current knowledge of nectar plant phenology and Indigenous data sovereignty concerns.

Resources for our Refuge Partners
Hotspots of butterfly increase and decline
You may have heard about the "insect apocalypse", a large scale decline in insect diversity and abundance across the globe. A new article in Global Change Biology finds that the changes are much more nuanced for butterflies in North America, with a mosaic of declines and increases.

Earlier bird arrival not linked to changes in size or shape
An article in University of Michigan News highlights findings from a team of researchers studying the impact of climate change on birds. Their study was the first to look at both phenological changes in birds, such as migratory arrival or departure times, as well as morphological changes including body size and wing length. The authors found that phenology changes did not predict morphology changes. Birds may be using other methods rather than body size or wing length to arrive earlier to breeding grounds, including shorter stopovers along their migration route.

Photo: Tom Grey
What's new at USA-NPN
New Certification Course Module added
We've added a brand new Module to the Observer Certification Course: The Plant and Animal Phenophases. This module provides information to help you understand plant life cycles and identify the plant phenophases in Nature's Notebook. You will learn about plant leafing, flowering, and fruiting. You will also learn the basics needed to observe animals. Quizzes at the end of each lesson will help test your skills.

Climate data for 2020 now available
Each year, we pull Daymet climate data from the Oak Ridge National Lab's into our tools so that you can more easily compare these data to your phenology data. In a recent Local Phenology Leader Community of Practice call, we reviewed how to locate these data in the Visualization Tool and Phenology Observation Portal. Check our the recording to see how you can compare onsets of breaking leaf buds, flowering, and more to climate variables like average spring minimum temperature and accumulated precipitation.

Upcoming Events
LPL Certification Course
There are still a few spots left in our Fall Local Phenology Leader Certification Course! This course assists in planning and implementing a phenology monitoring program. Consider joining us for this 60-80 hour, 10-week long training program. The cost of the program is a non-refundable $55. The course will run September 27th through December 3rd.

Applications due September 17, 2021.

LPL Monthly Calls
Our Local Phenology Leader Monthly Calls allow you to connect with your fellow leaders and learn from their knowledge. We want to hear from you about what topics you would like to focus on in future calls! You can see the list of past call topics and watch video recordings of the calls on our LPL Community of Practice page.

Stay Connected
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator and USFWS Liaison