We hope that you are hanging in there and finding a new routine. It seems all meetings and conferences have moved online, and webinars are seeing renewed life! A couple that we've really enjoyed recently were a round table on Conservation, Climate Change, and COVID-19 (hosted by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies) and a panel discussion on Birding While Black (hosted by the National Audubon Society).

Several USA-NPN staff members will be attending the Virtual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America next week! Find out more about their presentations including interactive Q&A sessions.

Are you involved with creating an online meeting or workshop? Get some great tips on running a virtual workshop in this blog post from the Ecological Forecasting Initiative.
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
The start of spring season was early - what about the rest?
The start of spring this year was the earliest in four decades in some locations. But how did spring play out? According to USA-NPN Director Theresa Crimmins, spring was much shorter than average in some locations (including parts of the high-mountain West and mid-Atlantic coastal plain) and longer than average in much of the Northeast, northern Ohio and Indiana and central Montana. See how these patterns are reflected in your data submitted to  Nature's Notebook in Theresa's  Ecology & Evolution  blog piece .

Improving pollen tracking with phenology
Pollen is one of the leading triggers of asthma, which impacts nearly 8% of the US population. A new blog from Eos envisions a world where satellite sensors, webcams, and phenology observations can inform allergy season to help manage asthma.

Pollen cones on a juniper.
Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Allergy season and start of spring
In order to see whether the timing of spring onset is associated with rates of asthma-related hospital admissions, a team of researchers looked at hospitalization data, the timing of spring as measured by satellite data, and pollen monitoring data to determine the length of pollen season. They found that early spring was associated with a 17% increase in hospital admissions for asthma, while a late start of spring was associated with a 7% decrease. Researchers can use information about the timing of spring season to anticipate the severity and timing of allergy season, providing personalized early warning systems that may reduce asthma hospitalizations.

Photo: Market Research Globe
Drought impacts on deer migration
You may have heard that deer and other ungulates "surf the green wave", following peak green-up of grasses on their way from low-elevation winter ranges to montane summer ranges. A new study from researchers at University of Wyoming found drought can shorten the duration of spring green-up, which may be a new threat for migrating deer.

Image showing a mule deer in front of a full moon.
Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
LPP Highlight: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Located in the heart of Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is a 52-acre, scientific plant collection organized as mini-gardens within a garden, and an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. As part of BBG’s education mission, staff work closely with teachers to provide hours of professional development through various pre-service and in-service programming. Several of those programs center around the use of phenology as a means of sharpening student observation skills, developing understanding of structure and function, and reinforcing recognition of the complex ecological relationships at work in an urban forest ecosystem – all while participating as an active member of the science community through citizen science. 

Currently, there are four locations within the Garden available for phenology data tracking on the NPN Partner site: the Native Flora Garden, Discovery Garden, Steinberg Visitor Center, and Bluebell Wood. All of these sites focus on native tree species such as red and sugar maple, American beech, red oak, tulip, and red buckeye. The Native Flora Garden was the first site within BBG to be used in phenology programming and has the most data, dating back to 2015. The trees in that location are tagged with numbers that correspond to data sheets created by BBG Teacher Training staff for consistency and easy identification. Observed trees in other locations are identified by accession numbers clearly inscribed on plant labels. BBG staff have also developed phenology guides and observation sheets for teacher and student use in their home and school communities.

Over the past five years, BBG Teacher Training staff has trained approximately 300 teachers and education employees in the art and science of phenology with plans to eventually expand programming to volunteers and youth drop-in programs while adding more observation sites and species of interest. Meanwhile Garden visitors can drop by the BBG's Cherrywatch website in April to track the blooming of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s famous Cherry Blossoms in real time!

Highlight courtesy of Barbara Kurland, Candyce Johnson, Sonal Bhatt, and Lauren Tecosky; Photo of teachers observing at BBG courtesy of Lauren Tecosky
Fall Certification Course
Are you interested in developing your own long-term phenology program? Our 10-week, online Local Phenology Leader Certification Course sets you up to start your program. Sign up on the Interest List to find out when the application opens for the fall course which will run September 21st - November 27th, 2020.

Enable observers to "work from home"
Are you a teacher who needs to find a way to engage students learning from home this fall, or a Local Phenology Leader who has lost access to your monitoring sites due to closures? Ask us about how you can set up your group so participants can observe on their own at personal sites which can be connected to your Local Phenology Program.

Related resources
Monthly weather and climate webinars
The Northeast Regional Climate Center hosts monthly webinars on weather and climate concerns, including one on Phenology and Changing Springs.

Visualizing western bumble bee decline
Learn more about the decline of the western bumble bee with an interactive story map created by the Xerces Society.

Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator