Happy spring! We just entered the spring season as defined meteorologically, and are on the cusp of the calendar definition of this traditionally anxiously-anticipated season.

I hope signs of spring are beginning to pop where you are. As the Spring Leaf Index Anomaly map above shows, the onset of biological activity has been over a week early in some places, and equally late in many other locations across the country. This is definitely a different pattern than what we've seen in the last few years.

Here in Tucson, signs of spring abound - I'm delighted to observe open flowers on my citrus trees, penstemons, and even some cacti. The appearance of these signs of life feel like harbingers of better things to come. I'm hoping for good things for you and everyone in the coming months. I hope you can enjoy some signs of spring!
What's new at the USA National Phenology Network
Amanda Gallinat joins the team!
We are very excited that Amanda Gallinat is now part of the extended USA-NPN team. Amanda is a post-doctoral researcher based administratively at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, supported by an NSF Macrosystems grant. Her aim is to develop and refine spring phenology forecasts for a variety of plant species across the United States using data contributed to the USA-NPN and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).

NASA VisWall video features phenology and invasive species management
Data products and tools developed to support invasive species management were featured in a video hosted at NASA's Virtual Booth at the American Geophysical Union meeting last fall. This video will be shown on NASA's VisWall at upcoming meetings and features the USA-NPN's Pheno Forecasts as well as several other collaborative efforts to improve invasive species management.

Data and data products
New forecast product! Winter wheat development
Winter wheat is typically planted in the autumn. The plants germinate in late fall, overwinter as young plants, and resume growth in early spring. Winter wheat is cold tolerant in the overwintering vegetative phase but becomes sensitive to freezing temperatures once growth resumes in the spring. The USA-NPN winter wheat development forecast can indicate whether plants at a particular location are likely to suffer damage due to sub-freezing temperatures.

Additions and updates to observation protocols
This past spring, we added 39 more plants and one insect - the sweat bee - to our list of species available for monitoring through Nature's Notebook, bringing the total list up to 1,429 taxa.

We also revised the “Falling leaves” plant phenophase definition for clarity. Finally, Protocols for aquatic insects (dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies and stoneflies) have also been updated to include phenophases for egg laying and recently emerged (teneral) adults. 

Toadshade (Trillium sessile), one of the species recently added to Nature's Notebook
Photo: © mshaughnessy via
Research spotlight
Can flowering indicate when to trap for troublesome beetles?
Managers have traditionally used dogwood blooms as an indicator of when to set out traps, recognizing that dogwood flowering tended to coincide with the beetle’s springtime dispersal. Using observations contributed to Nature’s Notebook, researchers determined that dogwood flowering is not presently a strong indicator of southern pine beetle spring emergence, and the reason for this might be recent changes in climate conditions.

Photo: Chiot's Run
CDC Climate & Health Program Webinar
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Climate and Health Program will host the second webinar on the links between climate change, pollen, and public health.

This webinar will bring experts from academia, the federal government, and the medical community to discuss a range of interconnected issues - impacts of climate change on pollen, use of phenology observations to detect pollen activity, health risk assessment, and surveillance related to pollen, advances in forecasting pollen, and translation of such research into effective patient care.

Mar 31, 1-2:30pm Eastern

Need more data for your project? Need to beef up broader impacts in your next proposal? We can help!
We have partnered with researchers on a number of projects, facilitating on-the-ground data collection to help answer pressing science questions. We'd love to be a part of your next proposal!

Upcoming meetings
Theresa Crimmins