It's nearly the first day of winter as indicated by both the Earth's journey around the sun and the crush of end-of-semester/year deadlines. I hope you are on the verge of a break and can enjoy the onset of the winter season and find some time to reflect on and celebrate the trials and victories of the past year!

Here at USA-NPN headquarters, we are excited that phenology continues to be recognized as an important ecosystems indicator. We were thrilled to learn that Dr. Lin Meng, post-doctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, won grand prize for her essay in the 2021 Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists. Using Nature's Notebook observations and other phenology data, Dr. Meng demonstrates that trees in urban areas, influenced by increased warmth and light, are blooming earlier than those in more rural areas. You can hear Dr. Meng and I discuss the implications of the study on NPR's All Things Considered.

Opportunities for engaging with phenology data and resources abound - check out many options below. And best wishes to you over the upcoming holiday season. We look forward to reconnecting in the new year!
What's new at the USA National Phenology Network
Seeking a new Volunteer Coordinator
We're hiring! The USA-NPN is hiring a Volunteer Engagement Coordinator to lead recruitment and retention activities for Nature's Notebook. The Coordinator will bring fresh, innovative ideas to the program and focus specific recruitment efforts on audiences traditionally underrepresented in the science fields. They will join an enthusiastic team, a flexible, supportive work environment, and enjoy outstanding benefits offered at the University of Arizona. Applications reviewed as received; position to start in early 2022. We'd love to have someone familiar with Nature's Notebook in this position - please share widely with your networks!

Data and data products
USA-NPN Buffelgrass Green-up Forecast data product published
The USA-NPN daily Buffelgrass Green-up Forecast maps were recently published as a Data Article in Ecological Solutions and Evidence. These maps show where buffelgrass is expected to be >50% green, and therefore able to be treated effectively with herbicide. The raster data products are available to anyone for inclusion in data analyses.

Forthcoming: updated climate normals
Starting in 2022, USA-NPN daily anomaly map products including the Spring Indices and Accumulated Growing Degree Day maps will be calculated using the 1991-2020 climate normal period. This is a shift from the 1981-2010 climate normal period used previously, and is consistent with the approach taken by NOAA NCEI and other agencies.

Research spotlight
Nature's Notebook lends power to the study of rare species
Thanks to phenology observations from both arboreta and those collected by Nature’s Notebook observers, researchers were able to predict how rare and understudied species may respond to climate change. Collaborations with botanical gardens and arboreta are critical to continuing to build our understanding of changing phenology.

Photo: John Hagstrom,
The Morton Arboretum

Can you predict peak cherry flowering?
Interested in forecasting when cherry trees will flower in cities around the globe? Join a forecasting competition!

Contestants will compete to predict when the cherry trees will bloom in Washington, D.C. and other cities across the globe. The competition builds on the popularity of cherry trees to raise awareness of the impact of climate change and get students and citizen scientists excited about using statistics to solve an important phenological problem. This effort is partially supported by the American Statistical Association and George Mason University.

The competition is open to everyone, and already more than fifty students are prepared to compete. The project leads have integrated this competition into statistics courses at George Mason University at the graduate and undergraduate levels so there are a lot of opportunities for education integration.

NCA Public Engagement Workshops
Please join the authors of the Fifth National Climate Assessment for a virtual workshop on January 11, 2022 from 12-4pm ET to share your thoughts on the climate change-related issues most important to include in the Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity chapter.

This workshop is free and open to the public including scientists, professionals, volunteers, and interested parties. The information gathered will help authors decide which topics to cover in their chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, a major U.S. Government report on how climate change affects people and places in the United States.

Special Issue opportunity: Plant phenology and their consequences
Call for papers - "Plant Phenology Shifts and their Ecological and Climatic Consequences" in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science. This Research Topic aims to synthesize and inspire innovative research in plant phenology to address outstanding research questions and challenges on the consequences of phenological shifts for ecosystem functioning and local climate and hydrology. Reviews, Perspectives, and Original Research contributions emphasizing plant and animal phenological responses to environmental and biotic changes are all welcomed.

Special Issue opportunity: Remote sensing phenology and climate change
Call for papers "Remote sensing of plant phenological and physiological responses to climate change", edited by Xiuzhu Chen, Lei Fan, Fraffaele Lafortezza, John Kovacs, and Jiali Shang. In this special issue, the editors welcome studies that can help improve our understanding of plant phenological and physiological responses to climate change at various scales in the journal International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation.

Special Issue opportunity: Public Participation in Environmental Research
Call for papers: "Focus on Public Participation in Environmental Research" in the journal Environmental Research Letters, edited by Steffen Fritz, Dan Rubenstein, and Taru Sanden. In this special issue, the editors welcome contributions that include topics such as: methods for citizen-based data collection;
innovative use of citizen environmental observations; mobilization and retention of citizens; combined use of sensors (including remote sensing) and citizen-based observations; contributions of citizen observations to support authoritative data; quality of citizen-based observations; and data conflation and data mining using citizen data.

Upcoming meetings
American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. New Orleans, LA, December 13-17, 2021

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Phoenix, AZ, February 25-28, 2022
Theresa Crimmins