Issue: Winter/Spring 2019

We are excited to be kicking off a new four-year agreement with the USFWS through our partnership with the Inventory and Monitoring Initiative. We are grateful for the continued support that allows us to assist refuges to collect, store, and explore phenology data and information in order to make better management decisions and inform visitors about the seasonal activities on their refuges.

Below, we take a look back at all we accomplished together over the last two years of our partnership. We also look ahead to the coming months when we offer training opportunities, both in person and online, to help improve your existing phenology programs or get a new program up and running.

Phenology on the Refuges
Report on our Partnership 2017-2019
Since 2014, over 254,000 observation records were collected at National Wildlife Refuges, providing roughly $100,000 worth of information each year at a minimal cost. Over February 2017 - January 2019, 18 refuges across the country contributed 174,041 phenology observations on 175 species including migrant birds, wildlife forage species, and keystone forest species.

Three refuges have started using their phenology data to make management decisions on their refuge and four refuges are using phenology data to engage members of the public or student groups in learning about phenology. 

Was spring early or late on your Refuge?
This year at J.N. Ding Darling NWR, spring leaf out arrived 2.6 days earlier than the long-term average. At Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, spring was 9.7 days late. At Tennessee NWR, spring leaf out arrived 12.4 days early.

If you knew spring was going to be weeks early or late on your Refuge, what changes would you make to your spring plans for management or visitor services? Our Status of Spring tool gives you a 6-day forecast of when spring will arrive on your Refuge and shows you how early or late spring was this year compared to a long-term average (1981-2010).

Tracking flowers for nectar bats
We are beginning another year of data collection for Flowers for Bats , a data collection campaign that is part of the post-delisting monitoring plan for the lesser long-nosed bat ( Leptonycteris yerbabuenae ). We partner with National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, botanical gardens, local non-profit organizations, and volunteer scientists to collect information about the timing of flowering phenology of nectar plants on which the bats depend.

Resources for our Refuge Partners
Informing invasive species management
Phenology can help managers target a plant before it sets seed and tell them when to release a biocontrol at the right time. The USA-NPN produces Pheno Forecasts to predict key life cycle stages in invasive and pest species to improve management efficacy.

In this webinar from the Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Mangement Network , you will learn about how invasive species managers are using these maps.

New Observer Certification Course
Our new  Observer Certification Course  helps you test and certify your skills as a  Nature's Notebook  observer. The Certification Course consists of several modules that will teach you how to observe with  Nature's Notebook , basic botany, tips for estimating intensity, and more. The first module, How to Observe is now available on your Observation Deck!

The impact of climate change on grizzlies
Grizzly bears in Alberta depend on buffaloberry to fatten up before hibernation. A shift to earlier fruiting means a gap between prime feeding season and hibernation. Authors of a new study in  Nature Climate Change  worry that this could alter reproductive rates of Alberta's grizzlies.

What's new at USA-NPN
How often do we see springs this early or late?
Darker colors on the map below represent spring leaf out and bloom that are unusually early or late in the long-term record for that location. Gray indicates an average spring. 
American Spring Live
Did you catch all the great phenology on  American Spring LIVE  a few weeks ago ? If not, you can watch the recording of this great series from PBS Nature. The third and final episode, Connections, highlights the USA-NPN's  Track a Lilac project , which invites the public to submit one-time observations of leafing and flowering in lilacs.

Upcoming Events
Local Phenology Leader Clinic this Oct
Do you want to connect with other Local Phenology Leaders to share ideas and gain skills you can bring to your program? Join us for the first biennial  Local Phenology Leader Clinic  this October 4-5, 2019 located at, and co-hosted by, the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and National Wildlife Refuge in Moss Point, Mississippi! The Grand Bay NERR/NWR spearheaded the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail , and has many great lessons to share!

We are also seeking six Local Phenology Leaders to share their work and ideas in 30-min oral presentations! The deadline for proposals is  June 9th . Registration will open on June 24th.

We have funding available to support USFWS staff and volunteers to attend the Clinic. Email for more details.

The LPL Clinic will be held at Grand Bay NERR/NWR in Mississippi
Phenology workshop at the Wildlife Society Annual Conference
If you are attending the Wildlife Society and American Fisheries Society Joint Conference in Reno, NV this year, sign up for our workshop, Informing Wildlife Management with Phenology Data and Information , on Tuesday October 1, 2019. The workshop will teach you how to leverage our data collection platform and forecasting tools to improve efficiency of management activities.

Phenology training at NCTC this Nov
The National Conservation Training Center will host a two day training course, Designing a long-term phenology monitoring program for management and outreach , from November 13-14, 2019 . The training is appropriate for any refuge that uses the timing of plant and animal life cycle events in their decision making and anyone who wishes to learn how to create a phenology program that leverages volunteer scientists.

Local Phenology Leader summer course
Do you want to get a quick and comprehensive overview of all the great resources available to you through our data collection platform? The  Nature's Notebook  Summer Short-course is a 4-week long, 8-10 hour online course that guides you through how to establish a sustainable phenology monitoring program. The course runs July 8th-26th and costs $25.

Stay Connected
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator and USFWS Liaison

LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator