Issue: Fall 2021

I hope that you have enjoyed the fall season and will have some time for rest and relaxation in the weeks ahead! We are wrapping up another year of our partnership with the USFWS, and continue to support the great efforts of National Wildlife Refuges across the country who are collecting phenology data to meet resource management and outreach goals. Below, we share some updates from these efforts as well as regional and national scale data collection campaigns.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with you next year!

Best wishes for the New Year,
Phenology on the Refuges
Tracking phenology on a restored prairie
How do you know if restoration is effective? Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, east of Des Moines, IA, was established to restore agricultural land to the tallgrass prairie, oak woodland, and sedge meadow that used to cover the area. Since 2017, staff and volunteers at Neal Smith NWR have tracked phenology of the species that have reestablished on the Refuge - monarchs, milkweeds, and nectar plants - to see whether these migrating butterflies are in synch with their host plants. A new article in Fish and Wildlife News details what observers are learning from their Nature's Notebook observations.

Photo: Karen Viste-Sparkman
Time to Restore project update
Our Time to Restore Project, focusing on improving guidance on nectar plant timing for those working on pollinator restoration across NM, TX, OK, and LA, kicked off with several workshops in October and November. We received great input from participants, including USFWS staff, about priority nectar species, preferences for receiving guidance on climate-informed bloom and seed calendars, and needs for keeping connected to the pollinator restoration community in the region. Stay tuned for more information on trainings happening early next year focused on collecting additional data on important nectar plants.

Another year of nectar observations
We recently completed another year of data collection to support two USFWS-inspired campaigns - Flowers for Bats, part of the post-delisting monitoring plan for the lesser long-nosed bat, and Nectar Connectors, which aims to understand where and when nectar is available for monarchs and other pollinators across the country. See what we learned this year from observations collected on important nectar species.

Resources for our Refuge Partners
Lessons from 10 years of NPS phenology
A new article from National Park Service collaborators and USA-NPN's Alyssa Rosemartin takes a look at the last 10 years of phenology monitoring in the National Parks. The authors describe how thirty-six Parks have used Nature's Notebook to document changes in timing for a variety of species from deciduous trees to wildflowers. The authors also provide recommendations for program planning, volunteer retention, and highlight the importance of working across organizational and disciplinary boundaries.

Photo: NPS
A more realistic conservation mindset
Land managers face many challenges from climate change, and limited resources to address those challenges. Many managers are shifting from a traditional conservation mindset to one where they must determine, on a case by case basis, which changes to resist, which changes to try to work with, and which to simply accept. An article from Thomson Reuters Foundation provides examples of these choices.

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 monarchs and nectar plants in the Midwest, fall color of oaks in the Northeast, the relationship of summer temperature and fall color in maples in the Southeast, and more!

Seeking a new Volunteer Coordinator
We're hiring! The USA-NPN is hiring a Volunteer Engagement Coordinator to lead recruitment and retention activities for Nature's Notebook. The Coordinator will bring fresh, innovative ideas to the program and focus specific recruitment efforts on audiences traditionally underrepresented in the science fields. They will join an enthusiastic team, a flexible, supportive work environment, and enjoy outstanding benefits offered at the University of Arizona. Applications reviewed as received; position to start in early 2022. We'd love to have someone familiar with Nature's Notebook in this position - please share widely with your networks!

Upcoming Events
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.

Stay Connected
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator and USFWS Liaison