Issue: Spring 2022


Are you seeing signs of spring on your Refuge yet this year? According to our Spring Indices, activity in early spring plants has been patchy across the country. The map below shows how typical this year's spring is compared to recent decades. Spring leaf out was record early in parts of the West (dark green), and record late in parts of the upper Midwest (dark purple). Read on to see how you can find out if spring at your Refuge was early or late this year.


Here at the USA-NPN, we've been busy summarizing the many achievements partners like you have made over the last year. Our 2021 Annual Report highlights some of these efforts, and in a recent webinar, USA-NPN Director Theresa Crimmins shared examples of how Nature's Notebook data were used in research last year. Thank you for your contributions to Nature's Notebook that make this work possible! 


Phenology on the Refuges

Was spring early or late on your Refuge?

Our Status of Spring tool tells you when spring leaf out in early season plants arrived on your refuge, and whether it was early or late compared to a long-term average. For example, at Rice Lake NWR in Minnesota, spring leaf out arrived an average of 12 days later across the Refuge this year than it did from 1991-2020.

See whether spring was early or late on your refuge »

Status of Spring Rice Lake NWR MN 2022.png

USFWS Partnership Report

Our Annual Progress Report details the activities we have undertaken over the last year in support of our Partnership with USFWS, from assisting National Wildlife Refuges to collect relevant data to inform management to running regional and national data collection campaigns to understand changes in food availability for wildlife. 

Read the Annual Report »


Time to Restore project update

Our Time to Restore Project focuses on improving guidance on nectar plant timing for those working on pollinator restoration across NM, TX, OK, and LA. Workshop participants last fall helped determine a short-list of eight priority nectar species for the region. We are now recruiting and training observers to collect data across the region. See information below on our upcoming quarterly call on May 25th. 

Learn more »

Resources for our Refuge Partners

New Species to observe

This year, we added many new plant species and two insects to Nature’s Notebook, including leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) and mason bees (Osmia spp.) at the genus level. There are now 1,650 total species for you to chose from!

We have also revised the “Breaking leaf buds”, "Young leaves" and "Leaves" phenophase definitions to avoid confusion about when a leaf is considered "unfolded". 

See what's new this year »

Megachile_spp._Marcello Consolo via

Photo: Marcello Consolo via

Phenology data analysis guidance

Last month, in our Local Phenology Leader Monthly Calls, we began a new effort to help you understand and analyze the phenology data that you collect. We are looking for additional input on what kinds of questions you are trying to answer, the barriers that prevent you from using your data, and what format you would prefer to receive information about how to understand and analyze your data. Your responses will shape the data analysis guidance that we create. We want to hear from you!

Give us your input »

What's new at USA-NPN
New Seasonal Stories to Explore

What patterns are we seeing in your data this year? Our Seasonal Stories teach you how to use the USA-NPN's Visualization Tool to create maps, charts, and graphs of phenology data from across the country. We recently added some new Stories about the timing of pollen in western oaks, the difference in leaf phenology of native and invasive shrubs, and how winter temperatures influence spring leafing in the Soapberry family.

Explore Seasonal Stories »

Learn how to use the Viz Tool in our recorded webinar »

New Nature's Notebook Campaigns

This spring, we have two new researcher-driven campaigns. The Redbud Phenology Project, led by Dr. Jorge Santiago-Blay at National Museum of Natural History and Penn State York, seeks to refine understanding of redbud phenology and masting. Quercus Quest, supported by an NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity award and involving researchers representing The Morton Arboretum, University of Oklahoma, University of Minnesota, Duke University, and USGS, addresses hybridization in oaks and interactions with insects and fungi. Both of these campaigns are excellent examples of how you can collaborate with the USA-NPN to amplify phenology data collection to support your management needs.

Redbud Phenology Project »

Quercus Quest »

Quercus Quest Logo.png

Updated 30y normal period backing anomaly products

Our current-year and historical annual Spring Index and growing degree day anomaly maps and long-term average maps are now calculated based on the 1991-2020 normal period. Anomaly maps created using the 1981-2010 anomaly period are still available, if desired; please contact us for more information. Details for all products are available in the associated metadata files.

Learn more about the new climate normals »

Upcoming Events

Time to Restore quarterly call May 25th

Join our Time to Restore team and participants from workshops last fall for an update on the project and opportunities to collaborate with others working on pollinator restoration in the South Central region.

Learn more »

LPL Monthly Calls

Our Local Phenology Leader Monthly Calls allow you to connect with your fellow leaders and learn from their knowledge. We want to hear from you about what topics you would like to focus on in future calls! You can see the list of past call topics and watch video recordings of the calls on our LPL Community of Practice page.

Learn more »

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Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator and USFWS Liaison
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