It's been a summer of extremes across much of the country. Many locations had a record warmest last three months on record, some had a record wettest, and others had a record driest ( Your observations will allow researchers to see the impact of these extreme events on the plants and animals around you.

Need to escape the heat? Get your phenology fix indoors by taking our newest Observer Certification Course module - The Plant and Animal Phenophases! This module will help you become more confident in your observations of plant and animal phenology with Nature's Notebook.

Happy observing,
What your data are telling us
Nature's Notebook observations lead to better models of tree leaf-out
Accounting for the fact that species respond differently to the same amount of warmth in different parts of their range presents a challenge for predicting phenological events like leaf-out. The authors of a new study developed a novel approach for incorporating this phenomenon into phenology models. They then incorporated this approach into models of budbreak for 14 widely distributed tree species. This study was only possible due to the large amount of data collected by Nature’s Notebook observers like you across a broad area. Incorporating this information will lead to more accurate, geographically-relevant forecasts for management of these species.

Photo: Ellen G. Denny
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
New Certification Course Module added
We've added a brand new Module to the Observer Certification Course: The Plant and Animal Phenophases. This module provides information to help you understand plant life cycles and identify the plant phenophases in Nature's Notebook. You will learn about plant leafing, flowering, and fruiting. You will also learn the basics needed to observe animals. Quizzes at the end of each lesson will help test your skills.

Funding update from our Director, Theresa Crimmins
Thank you for your continued support of the USA-NPN. We are excited to share that thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, we will continue all of the activities you've come to depend on from our team through 2022. We are very grateful to the NSF and our other past and current funders, including USFWS, USGS, USDA, NASA, and the University of Arizona.
Welcome, Nathan, to the USA-NPN team!
Please join us in welcoming Nathan Acosta, the USA-NPN's new Web Developer! Nathan works to ensure the USA-NPN and Nature's Notebook websites run smoothly and efficiently. Nathan received a B.S. in Computer Science with an Informatics minor and an Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security from the University of Arizona. He grew up in Arizona's neighboring state of Sonora, Mexico and is passionate about researching and preserving the immense biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert.

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
What does the latest IPCC Report tell us?
The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released the first part of their sixth assessment on climate. The UK-based website Carbon Brief breaks down the most important findings of the report with a In-Depth Q&A.

Earlier bird arrival not linked to changes in size or shape
An article in University of Michigan News highlights findings from a team of researchers studying the impact of climate change on birds. Their study was the first to look at both phenological changes in birds, such as migratory arrival or departure times, as well as morphological changes including body size and wing length. The authors found that phenology changes did not predict morphology changes. Birds may be using other methods rather than body size or wing length to arrive earlier to breeding grounds, including shorter stopovers along their migration route.

Common Yellowthroat, Photo: Tom Grey
Nature's Notebook Nuggets
Tips on reporting colored leaves this fall
When it comes to reporting on colored leaves, any amount of color (regardless of the reason) means a 'yes'. If reporting on intensity, consider the percent of color in the canopy respective to the canopy at 100% potential fullness—and it might take a year to know what this looks like for your plant. 

More ways to get involved
New children's book about monarchs
A new children's book by author Julie Dunlap tells the story of Janey Monarch Seed, who recognizes the plight of monarch butterflies and travels North America to plant milkweed seeds. The book contains sidebars explaining the monarch’s life cycle and reveals the important connections between different species. The book also shows the importance of careful observation, noting when something seems amiss, and how to work with others when a job is too large for one person.

A gardener documents climate change
An article in the New York Times Magazine describes how Jeff Lowenfels, who has written a gardening column since the mid-1970s for The Anchorage Daily News, has inadvertently documented a long-term record of climate change with his observations and advice.

Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator