I hope your 2022 has started off well! Here at the USA-NPN, we are busy cooking up new things for you this year, including two new data collection campaigns! Learn about The Redbud Phenology Project below, and stay tuned for news about Quercus Quest, our new oak campaign starting in March. You can register here for our Quercus Quest campaign kickoff webinar on March 1st at 1pm CT.

We are also hard at work on a new website for the USA-NPN and Nature's Notebook that will make it easier than ever to access phenology resources and happenings as well as a new map tool to help you connect with Local Phenology Programs across the country. We look forward to sharing these and other improvements with you this year. Thank you for being part of our Network!

What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
How were your data used in 2021?
How were your data used last year? To find out, join our webinar on Feb 22 at 9am PT / 12pm ET. USA-NPN Director Theresa Crimmins will describe the findings from phenology research studies in 2021 that used Nature's Notebook data.

Join The Redbud Phenology Project
Eastern redbuds are iconic spring bloomers, but mystery remains about the timing of their flowering and fruiting. Our new campaign, The Redbud Phenology Project seeks to answer questions such as "are redbuds flowering and fruiting earlier in the year" and "is there a cycle to abundant years of redbud fruiting"? Watch the recording of our kickoff webinar to learn about the significance of this project and how you can get started observing redbuds.

You can help predict cherry bloom
When will cherry blossoms open this spring? Make your predictions for four locations across the globe, using data from Nature's Notebook and several other sources, and win cash prizes up to $5,000! The competition is open throughout February 2022 and seeks statisticians and data scientists of all levels, from experts to students just beginning to use statistical software. 

Don't have the statistics background? Your observations of when cherry trees bloom submitted to Nature's Notebook will also aid in validation efforts for this competition!

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Urbanization causes later leaf fall in plants in cold regions, but not warm ones
The authors of a new study combined plant phenology observations contributed to Nature’s Notebook with two other phenology datasets and data products collected by satellite-borne sensors to estimate the timing of brown down of leaves (senescence) for 93 plant species across the United States and Europe. They then looked at the effects of human population density and temperature on the timing of leaf senescence and growing season length. The authors found that in cold regions, urbanization was associated with later leaf senescence and a longer growing season while in warm regions, urbanization was associated with earlier leaf senescence and a shorter growing season. As urbanization increases and temperatures warm further with climate change, we may see more areas that experience shorter growing season length, which has implications for global carbon cycles. 

Photo: Ellen G Denny
Winter is the fastest warming season
Last month, much of the country was hit with repeated warm spells. According to Climate Central, average winter temperatures have increase at least one degree in every state since 1970, with two-thirds of states seeing an increase of three degrees. These increased temperatures can cause plants to begin leaf and flower activity prematurely, as well as influence timing of animal activity.

Photo: Alyssa Rosemartin
Special issue on phenology
The California Botanical Society published a special issue on phenology patterns in western North America in their quarterly journal, Madroño. This issue includes manuscripts that use Nature's Notebook data!

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
A few days left to tell us about your LPP!
If you have not yet completed your 2021 Local Phenology Program survey, you have until January 31st! Your responses are critical in helping us refine our existing materials and make new resources to help you meet your goals. Plus, there is one more chance to win our weekly raffle for Nature's Notebook swag!

Could you be the 2021 PhenoChampion?
Each year, we recognize the outstanding achievements of one of our Local Phenology Programs with the PhenoChampions Award! To apply, you must have been active for at least two years, have completed our 2021 LPP Survey, and complete a short application. Winners will have their choice of Nature's Notebook gear for 10 observers or a customized sign (example at right), both valued at $350! Apply by Friday, February 11th, 2022.

Join us for monthly LPL Calls this year
Do you want to learn from experienced local phenology leaders and brainstorm ideas for your program? Join us for Local Phenology Leader Monthly Calls! Next month, we will look at the results from our 2021 LPP Survey and discuss how we can address challenges that you all are facing with your programs. We are looking for suggestions for future call topics.

Related resources
Challenges for leaf peeper season
In some locations, increased drought, heat waves, and extreme events like hurricanes are making it harder to track autumn color. Trees are responding to unusual weather events by changing leaf color quickly, or dropping leaves early. An article from the Associated Press explains how climate is impacting fall foliage.

Photo: Ellen G Denny
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator