Issue: Spring 2020

We hope you are weathering these uncertain times. We have been humbled by the dedication of our phenology observers and partners to continue their important work despite new challenges. We are still working hard (from home) to bring you tools and training resources to leverage phenology information to make decisions on your refuges.

On June 10th, our staff participated in #ShutDownSTEM and took time to read, listen, and reflect on actions we can take to eradicate anti-Black racism in STEM. We see this as just the beginning of a broader conversation with our network. This past year, we identified the need for an increased awareness and formal commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and equity in our actions, partners, the communities we serve, and our team. You can read more about this commitment, as well as one example of how we are working with the Indigenous Phenology Network in our 2019 USA-NPN Annual Report . We are keen to work with you all on improving conditions for underrepresented groups in the field of phenology.

Phenology on the Refuges
Gulf Coast Phenology Trail 2019 Report
The Gulf Coast Phenology Trail brings together four National Wildlife Refuges and 9 other partners in a shared goal of tracking changes in phenology of important Gulf Coast species. The 2019 GCPT Annual Report describes their findings in their third year of data collection.

Phenology helps control invasive species
In order to better target the timing of control of invasive  Vebesina enceliodes , a team of staff and volunteers at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge began collecting phenology data to identify how much time they had in between when the plant starts to grow and when it drops its seeds. After a year of data collection with  Nature's Notebook , the team determined the number of days they could allow between treatments and adjusted their schedules accordingly. This study, recently published in Ecological Solutions and Evidence , demonstrates the potential for data collected by volunteer scientists to inform ecological restoration.

Resources for our Refuge Partners
How early was spring on your Refuge?
Our Status of Spring tools shows you how early or late spring arrived on your Refuge. You can also find out how often we see a spring like this year's in your area. This year, spring leaf out arrived over 15 days early to Hatchie NWR in Tennessee compared to the period of 1981-2010.

Phenology Leader Online Course this July
The 2020 Local Phenology Leader Summer Short-Course is designed to help you jump start a long-term phenology monitoring program using Nature's Notebook . The course, which runs July 6th - 24th, allows you to work at your own pace and connect with other phenology leaders across the country. If you would like to enroll, email LoriAnne by June 26th. The cost is free for USFWS staff and volunteers.

Forecasting invasive species and pests
Our Pheno Forecasts predict of the activity of invasive plants and insects to give managers a heads up about when management action will be most effective. Forecasts of green-up of invasive buffelgrass, which threatens desert habitat for a variety of wildlife, will aid managers this summer in knowing where and when to use herbicide treatment. You can sign up to receive notifications directly to your inbox 2 weeks and 6 days ahead of activity for 13 species of concern.

Climate impact on food-producing shrubs
A recent publication in PLOS One examined potential shifts in both the phenology and the distribution of three important food-producing shrubs in North America - beaked hazelnut ( Corylus cornuta ), Oregon grape ( Mahonia aquifolium ), and salal ( Gaultheria shallon ). Prevéy and colleagues looked at the climate variables most important for habitat suitability and the timing of flower production and fruit ripening. They found that suitable habitat is projected to decrease substantially for all three species and that phenology may advance up to 36 days on average by the end of the century, impacting ecological communities that depend on these fruits.

What's new at USA-NPN
Learn to use the mobile app
Our  Observer Certification Course  provides instructions to help you get started using  Nature's Notebook , or provide a refresher if you need one! We've just released the second module which provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the  Nature's Notebook  mobile app. You will learn how to use the app to set up your account, create sites, add plants and animals, and enter and review observations. Please note that you will need to be logged into your  Nature's Notebook  account to take the course.

Explore seasonal stories in the Viz Tool
The new USA-NPN Visualization Tool makes it easier to explore seasonal activity of plants and animals. The Tool includes rotating Seasonal Stories that provide a tutorial on how to use the Tool. Find out what is happening right now in your area.

Upcoming Events
NCTC Citizen Science Course this July
There are still a few spots left in the NCTC online course Implementing a Successful Citizen Science Effort (OUT8067). The course will run Tuesdays from 2 - 4 pm ET from July 7 - August 11, and will feature information about Nature's Notebook as well as many other citizen science programs.

Indigenous and Western Approaches to Phenology Webinar Series
If you missed our Indigenous and Western Approaches for Understanding Shifting Seasons , you can still catch the recordings! This series, hosted by NCTC's Conservation Science webinar series in partnership with the Indigenous Phenology Network, illustrated indigenous and western approaches to the study of the seasons, including principles and tools for collaboration, monitoring and management.

Stay Connected
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator and USFWS Liaison

LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator