Happy new year! We're excited to start off the year with a brand new Visualization Tool that enables exploration of observational data collected via Nature's Notebook, phenology maps of the start of spring, predicted activity of insect pests and invasive species, and more. We are offering a webinar with tips and tricks on how to use the Tool on Wednesday, February 5th at 2 pm EST - sign up here .

Also below, don't miss the call for applications for our PhenoChampions Award - any Local Phenology Program active the last two years is eligible to apply!
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
New Viz Tool makes it easier to explore phenology data
The new Visualization Tool includes Seasonal Stories  help you learn your way around the tool and a  Data Explorer to dive deep into the observational plant and animal data and USA-NPN's phenology maps. New features include grouping data by taxonomy (genus, family, and order), adding more than two years on Phenology Calendars and Activity Curves, and more flexibility in selecting locations (including the option to draw a polygon around an area of interest).

If you would like to explore your Local Phenology Program's  Nature's Notebook  data there is a new link on the Manage Users page on your  Observation Deck   as well as a link on our  Active Local Phenology Program  page.

An early start to spring in the Southeast
Spring leaf out  is off to an early start this year in much of the Southeast. Some locations are seeing spring leaf out three weeks ahead of normal (a long-term average of 1981-2010). USA-NPN's Associate Director Theresa Crimmins recently joined Jim Cantore and Stephanie Abrams on The Weather Channel to talk about the implications of an early spring.

A new video to inspire new partnerships
The USA-NPN is seeking new partners to collaborate on innovative research and develop new data products and tools in the fields of ecological prediction, environment and human health, invasive species management, and more. A new video by UA's Landmark Stories describes different ways to work with us, highlighting three examples of ongoing projects.

We invite you to share the video with colleagues who might be interested in partnering with USA-NPN!

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Flowering phenology and fire
Flowering in chamise, a widely distributed plant in fire-prone chapparal California, is a good indicator of fire risk. Data contributed to Nature’s Notebook helped researchers identify that a critical live fuel moisture threshold is crossed after the plant has flowered but before fruits have developed. Accordingly, managers can readily and inexpensively assess live fuel moisture status simply by looking at chamise flower and fruit status. This study shows the potential for phenology information from programs like Nature’s Notebook to inform critical management decisions.

Photo: Emery et al. 2020, Ecological Indicators
Climate change impacts on huckleberry
Huckleberry is an important food resource in the Pacific Northwest of North America. In a new study in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Prevé y  and colleagues predict the range of this species will shrink and flowering and fruiting will advance substantially over future decades.

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
LPP Highlight: Shelburne Farms Phenology Walk
Shelburne Farms is a vibrant center for learning with a mission to inspire and cultivate learning for a sustainable future. Based on Abenaki land, the home campus is a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. The 140,000 annual visitors include teachers, students, families, and community members who learn to understand and address the interconnected environmental, social, and economic challenges of our day. 

The campus features a phenology trail on which staff and visitors can monitor a variety of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, including sugar maple and red oak trees, red elderberry bushes, and Jack-in-the Pulpit plants. Shelburne Farms is also collaborating with a local elementary school to help students engage with phenology observations and plant research onsite at their school. They are excited to continue to involve local communities in observing phenology and to encourage folks to interact with nature in new ways.

Photo: Kerri McAllister, Shelburne Farms Phenology Walk Local Phenology Leader
Apply for the PhenoChampions Award
The PhenoChampions Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a Local Phenology Program active during 2018-2019. The winner will receive their choice of a Nature's Notebook gear package for 10 observers/staff or a customized phenology sign for your site. Submissions are open until Friday, February 7th .

A personal reflection on observing
A field biology student connected to the New York Phenology Project , Coco Sheng, shares a personal reflection about how phenology observation has deepened her connection with nature. Coco describes how individuals can join together to make important contributions to science.

Photo: Ava Goodale
Related resources
ESA Life Discovery Conferece
Proposals are now open for the 6th Life Discovery Conference , October 22-24 in Estes Park, CO. This year's theme is Pushing Past Barriers: Ecological Science for All. Proposals due March 15th.

Observation Guide and 5-Year Journal
The Naturalist's Notebook is an observation guide and five-year calendar-journal for documenting your observations of nature. Authors Nathaniel Wheelwright and Bernd Heinrich also include illustrations to guide new observers with tips on what to look for where you live.

The best garden to support monarchs
Authors of a new study in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution looked the impact of different garden configurations of milkweed, nectar plants, and ornamental grasses on presence of monarch eggs and caterpillars. They found that gardens with milkweeds evenly spaced in a 1 m corridor surrounding nectar plants and grasses led to higher numbers of eggs and caterpillars.

Once your garden is set up, submit your observations nectar plant flowering to our Nectar Connectors campaign!

Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator