Reflecting on this year, we are so impressed by the continuing dedication of the Nature's Notebook Local Phenology Leaders and their group members. This year, Nature's Notebook observers handily surpassed our goal of 2 million records submitted to the National Phenology Database in 2016. That number is 2.3 million records and still growing! 

We know that much of this amazing effort is due to the efforts of group leaders like you, and we will continue to supply you with the resources you need to create effective, long-term phenology monitoring programs. We have some great resources for you below, including another iteration of our Local Phenology Leader Certification Course, and a Local Phenology Project Dashboard to track the progress of your program. If there are other resources you need, just let us know!

Happy Holidays, 



What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Learn what Shady Invaders told us this year
Shady Invaders is a project created with researchers at Penn State University to explore the timing of leafing of invasive and native shrubs. Invasive shrubs are becoming increasingly common in eastern forests, and some have been found to break bud earlier and maintain leaves later than native shrubs. This can have benefits to the invasive shrubs (e.g. longer period of photosynthesis) and impacts to native flora and fauna (e.g. novel shading and competition early and late in the growing season).  

In this recorded webinar, Erynn Maynard, researcher at Penn State  University,  explains why observations of invasive and native shrubs  are  important, and tells you what we   learned from observations of Shady  Invaders species  this year.
Photo: Brian F Powell
What resources do you need?
Are there particular areas in  Nature's Notebook  where you feel you need further instruction? Let us know! Give us your ideas for future instructional videos, text guides, or webinars that would help you to become a better  Nature's Notebook  observer, group leader, or partner organization. You can help guide the resources we develop next year.
Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Large herbivores track high-protein forage
Photo: USFWS Headquarters via Wikimedia Commons

Finding high-quality foraging areas is crucial for hungry herbivores in the spring months. Researchers of a new study in  Proceedings of the Royal Society B studied five species of herbivores in Wyoming and Utah to see whether animals matched their movements with the spring green-up of their forage across the landscape. They found that 7 of the 10 populations studied selected patches of forage in the early growth stage, supporting the hypothesis that these animals track the green wave. Learning more about how animals select habitat patches, and how 
much flexibility exists in their behavior will help managers to protect these 
species in the face of future climate change and land development.
More ways to get involved
Sarah Bois presents at NERPN, Photo: Alyssa Rosemartin
A gathering of Phenologists at NERPN 

The Northeast Regional Phenology Network (NERPN) gathered in the White Mountains on November 17th and 18th, to connect researchers, land managers, citizen science practitioners and observers. A vibrant and warm community gathered, and we heard many perspectives, including:
  • Jim Greaney, an AMC MountainWatch super-volunteer described his dedication to phenology monitoring being a natural development of his role as a naturalist with AMC. 
  • Amanda Gallinat presented results of an herbarium study finding invasive plants with fruit later in the fall than native species 
  • Sarah Bois with the Linda Loring Preserve on Nantucket shared their experience garnering short-term results while building enthusiasm for long-term monitoring.
The USA-NPN was glad to see the energy around gathering and using data across the Northeast, and get some feedback from our partners. The meeting was hosted by University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant in collaboration with the Appalachian Mountain Club, USA National Phenology Network, and New Hampshire Sea Grant/University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.
Learn more on the Maine Sea Grant blog »
Catch up on Nature's Notebook Nuggets 

We covered a lot of topics this year in our  Nature's Notebook  Nuggets series, including tips for recording initial growth, how to know when a phenophase begins and ends, and the reason you might want to observe more than one individual of each species. You can find all these Nuggets and more on our website and brush up on your 
Nature's Notebook  knowledge. 
See all Nature's Notebook Nuggets »

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Photo: Brian F Powell
January LPL Certification Course Now Open

This online, interactive course will give you guidance on planning your long-term phenology observation program, and walk you through how to use  Nature's Notebook . The course will begin January 23, and will run for 10 weeks. We estimate this course will take 25-30 hours to complete. The cost of the course is $50, which in addition to the Certification, includes a copy of the  Botany Primer  and a shirt embroidered with the  Nature's Notebook  logo.
Already have a Local Phenology Project in progress? Have you been monitoring for at least 6 months, and collecting observations either alone or with volunteers? You might be 
eligible  for a Honorary Certification to recognize your efforts! Click the link below for more details.

The new Local Phenology Project Dashboard 
We now have an easy way for our Local Phenology Leaders to keep track of their Local Phenology Project's (LPP) progress, with metrics tracking observations, observer activity, and more.  Get a quick snapshot of the number of phenology records per species, phenophase category, number of site visits, and active observers per month.

We are currently working on a Guidance Document that will walk you  through how to use the LPP Dashboard, along with the USA-NPN  Visualization Tool and other online resources to create a comprehensive  Phenology Report for your program. Stay tuned for more early next year!  

Photo: Brian F Powell
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 data are collected primarily by student groups or other volunteers who are only available during certain times of the year:
  • "Partner with local birders or Master Gardeners and encourage them to observe as well"
  • "Hold a summer camp for city kids to cover the summer months
  • "Get home schoolers involved in collecting data during times of the year that have gaps"
  • "Incentivize fall and winter field trips in order to even out the distribution of visits"
  • "Make data sheet packets available to visitors or volunteers"

Erin Posthumus 
Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator