Issue: Summer 2019

As the end of summer approaches, we are enthusiastically cooking up new resources for you for next year, including improvements to our Refuge Dashboards to allow you to easily compare phenology between your Nature's Notebook sites as well as compare data from your Refuge to surrounding areas.

Haven't started phenology program yet? We have upcoming training opportunities to help you get started with tracking phenology of plants and animals of interest to your refuge. We'll be hosting a half-day program planning workshop at the Wildlife Society Conference in Reno on October 1st, a Clinic for Local Phenology Leaders in Mississippi October 4-5th, and an online training course to become a Certified Local Phenology Leader in January. You can also request to have your own workshop at your own refuge! Just email us for more details.

Phenology on the Refuges
Tracking flowers and bees at Patuxent
Patuxent Research Refuge, in Laurel, Maryland, began monitoring phenology last year. They are interested in the relationship between the spring beauty plant, the spring beauty bee, and invasive Japanese barberry which threatens to out-compete native shrubs. Check out their personalized Refuge Dashboard to see what they are finding with their phenology observations.

Flowering data support monarchs
Conservation of monarch butterflies and other pollinators is a top priority for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Much is still unknown about where and when nectar plants are available and if there are mismatches between pollinators and flowering activity. The Nectar Connectors Campaign includes 53 species identified by the USFWS as important for monarchs and other pollinators. By joining the campaign you will contribute observations of flowering at your refuge and receive monthly updates on what we are learning from your data!

Tracking flowers for nectar bats
Knowing about threats to food sources can inform Species Status Assessments and help with monitoring once species are de-listed as well. Flowers for Bats is a data collection effort that is part of the post-delisting monitoring plan for the lesser long-nosed bat ( Leptonycteris yerbabuenae ). We partner with National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, botanical gardens, local non-profit organizations, and volunteer scientists to collect information about the timing of flowering phenology of nectar plants on which the bats depend.

Resources for our Refuge Partners
Phenology changes across public lands
A new study in Ecological Applications takes a look at projected future changes in fire weather, spring droughts, and false springs across US National Forests and Grasslands. To understand the risk of false spring, authors used the USA-NPN's Spring Indices to determine the flower emergence date after which a hard freeze would be damaging. Areas projected to see higher increases in weather extremes included the Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and Pacific Southwest.

Lilac bud in snow
Photo: Alyssa Rosemartin
Adaptation of animals is insufficient
Authors of a new study in Nature Communications conducted a comprehensive literature search to investigate whether birds are able to advance their phenology in response to changing climate conditions. They found that some bird species advanced their phenology, which may help them cope with negative fitness effects from climate change. However, they did not find adaptive change in all species, and even those that did shift still lagged behind the change in temperature.

Y ellow-rumped Warbler
Photo: Tom Grey
Plants shift but migrating birds do not
A newly uncovered historical dataset from Maine was analyzed by authors of a study in Northeastern Naturalist to determine changes in leafing and flowering of plants and arrival of migratory birds over the last 100 years. They found that migratory birds are not in sync with advancing leaf-out and flowering phenology.

Black-throated blue warbler
Photo: Tom Grey
What's new at USA-NPN
Helping managers know when to spray
The USA-NPN's new  Buffelgrass Pheno Forecast shows areas where enough rain has fallen to trigger green-up of buffelgrass, a problematic invasive grass in Southern Arizona. The maps assist managers in locating sites with buffelgrass that is green enough to treat with herbicide. This Forecast is one of 13 Pheno Forecasts that the we make available to predict the activity of insect pests and invasive species.

New Nature's Notebook mobile app
Have you tried our new  Nature's Notebook  mobile application? The new app features improved navigation, the ability to easily see the past observations you have entered on the app and edit them if needed, an animal checklist to quickly enter your observations of animals, and improved options for our Local Phenology Program members. Learn about these features and more in our  mobile app tip sheet .

Find it in the  Apple App Store  and  Google Play Store .

Upcoming Events
Phenology workshop at the Wildlife Society Annual Conference
If you are attending the Wildlife Society and American Fisheries Society Joint Conference in Reno, NV this year, sign up for our workshop, Informing Wildlife Management with Phenology Data and Information , on Tuesday October 1, 2019. The workshop will teach you how to leverage our data collection platform and forecasting tools to help you anticipate an early spring, know when to treat various insect pests and invasive plants, and more!

Local Phenology Leader Clinic this Oct
Do you want to connect with other Local Phenology Leaders to share ideas and gain skills you can bring to your program? Join us for the first biennial  Local Phenology Leader Clinic  this October 4-5, 2019 located at, and co-hosted by, the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and National Wildlife Refuge in Moss Point, Mississippi!

The Grand Bay NERR/NWR spearheaded the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail , and has many great lessons to share! The Clinic will also be attended by members of the Rio Grande Phenology Trail , including staff from Valle de Oro NWR .

We have funding available to support USFWS staff and volunteers to attend the Clinic. Email for more details.

The LPL Clinic will be held at Grand Bay NERR/NWR in Mississippi
Become a Local Phenology Leader
Ready to start your own program? Take our online course to become a Certified Local Phenology Leader ! Courses run 10 weeks and are offered in spring and fall. A 3-week short course is offered in the summer. The next course will begin January 27th, 2020. You can sign up on the interested list now to receive notification when the application is available in December.

Host your own phenology workshop!
Do you want to start a phenology monitoring program on your refuge to collect data on seasonal activity of plants and animals and engage volunteers at the same time? Our staff have funding available to travel to your refuge and walk you through the creation of a phenology program implementation plan. Get a workshop set up for the Fall or Winter and be ready to start up data collection next spring!

Training participants at
Grand Bay NWR/NERR
Stay Connected
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator and USFWS Liaison

LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator