Photo: Brian F Powell
As we head into the quieter seasons, phenology-wise, it's a great time to brush up on your phenology skills with your group members or train new observers for your program. We have a multitude of resources to help you on our Host a Workshop page. 

If your observers are already trained in Nature's Notebook, consider a calibration training to make sure everyone is on the same page on species and phenophase identification. We've got some great new resources to help you do that, below. 

Happy fall observing, 


What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Phenophase Primer for Plants now available
It's here! The first section of the Phenophase Primer is now available for download. This beautifully illustrated guide provides detailed information on how to identify each of the phenophases we ask you to observe on the Nature's Notebook datasheets. 

Please note that this is a draft version; a final version with information about conifers and more photos will be released next year. Once all three sections are complete, we will offer a printed and bound copy, much 
like we do for the popular Botany Primer
New botany and phenophase intensity quizzes
Learn about basic botany and estimating intensity for Nature's Notebook, and then test your new skills! The quiz series, Basic Botany and Intensity Estimation, is composed of 5 parts, each focusing on a different type of intensity question. Learn how to estimate number of breaking leaf buds, percent canopy, and amount of pollen released, then take the quiz to see what you've learned!  

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Spring advancing in 3 of every 4 National Parks
Photo: Brian F Powell

A new study by researchers at the USA National Phenology Network, US Geological Survey, University of Arizona, Schoodic Institute, Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee shows that climate change is already happening on public lands. The authors found that spring is advancing in 76% of the 276 Parks studied, and 53% of parks are experiencing extreme early springs that exceed 95% of historical conditions. Better knowledge of warming trends will help Parks to treat invasive species, operate visitor facilities, and schedule popular climate-related events,  such as flower festivals and fall leaf-viewing. 
Early springs may become the new normal
Photo: TylerN, iStockphoto

The "false spring" of 2012 was the earliest in an over-100-year record, and resulted in large-scale agricultural losses. To find out if these types of springs will become more common in the future, researchers used new climate change simulation models, including the USA-NPN's  Spring Indices, to distinguish natural climate fluctuations from  
longer-term  trends. They found that by mid-century, we could see 
springs like that of  2012 as often as one out of every three years. They 
also found last freeze  dates may not change at the same rate, resulting 
in more large-scale tissue  damage and agricultural losses.  
More ways to get involved
Get inspired with new  citizen science  book 

The recently released  Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction , by Mary Ellen Hannibal, follows Mary Ellen as she explores a diversity of citizen science programs. Through her book, Mary Ellen communicates both the spirit of adventure of citizen science and its importance in protecting our planet's remaining species. You can also l isten to Mary Ellen talk about her book on San Francisco's KGO 810.
Learn more »

Science to Action Fellowship program
Statements of interest are now being accepted for the Science to Action Fellowship hosted by the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and Michigan State University (MSU).  The program supports graduate students in applying scientific research related to climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, or ecosystems to decision-making about natural resources.

The program is open to Master's and Doctoral students in MSU's  Department of Fisheries and Wildlife  or at any  Climate 
Science Center consortium institution . Applications for next year 
are due December 15th. 

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Photo: Brian F Powell
Learn how other groups are using NN

We're hosting a Partner Showcase webinar for you to learn about how other groups are using  Nature's Notebook Get insight, tools and tricks from other groups who are using phenology programs to meet science, outreach, and education goals. The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1st at 10am Pacific/ 1pm Eastern time. 
Short introductory videos for your use
We've created some introductory voiced-over powerpoints for you to use in workshops and trainings. There are short videos on the topics of Phenology, Citizen Science, and the USA-NPN and Nature's Notebook. We welcome any feedback you have on other short videos that would be useful to you in your Nature's Notebook programs. Email us!
Tricky volunteer management scenarios

We've been asking some expert LPLs what they would do in certain scenarios that often plague volunteer managers. Their answers might surprise you! 

This month, we highlight what to do when your phenology monitoring project runs out of funding:
  • "Recruit a dedicated volunteer to manage the other volunteers so this does not have to be done by a staff member"
  • "Have a fundraiser or get a local business to donate funds" 
  • "Network with other non-profits, Master Naturalists, or other groups who might be able to take over monitoring"
  • "Distribute responsibilities among staff or incorporate them into existing programs with funding"
  • "Check out funding sources like or Keep America Beautiful"

Erin Posthumus 
Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator