USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Phenology is an excellent lens for teaching about the natural world.

Image credit:
Brian F. Powell


Nature's Notebook offers place-based, hands-on learning opportunities and promotes collaboration between site-based educators, land-managers, and researchers.

If you are an educator, consider partnering with a local program seeking long-term phenology information on species of interest in your area. Many organizations are collecting data about the natural world and Nature's Notebook can enhance the understanding of species response to a changing climate. If you cannot locate a local program, consider what questions about seasonal and long-term change you might answer with your students or volunteers and create your own study. Data collected by Nature's Notebook observers is available to those interested and helps to validate cutting-edge models designed to map change.

Resources available to educators

  • Learn how to set up and maintain a sustainable phenology monitoring program for your site by enrolling in the Local Phenology Leader Certification Course
  • Utilize phenology and Nature's Notebook activities designed by our Education staff in your classroom, with your volunteers, or in your community
  • Join a nationwide Local Phenology Leader Community of Practice designed to support educators and managers who are implementing long-term phenology monitoring programs using Nature's Notebook
  • Utilize online tools for creating phenology calendars, activity curves, maps with Accumulated Growing Degree Day information, and more
  • Share the story your data are telling by summarizing participation data, species observations, and number of site visits by exploring our Local Phenology Project Dashboard

Examples of our Educators and their successful Local Phenology Projects

Sabrina Carlson, Arizona Trail Association Seeds of Stewardship - Sabrina works with local schools to create Nature's Notebook monitoring locations where participation enhances student understanding of math, science, language arts, and outdoor skills. These experiences provide youth with repeated opportunities to make observations in nature and help them to see science in action in the field.

Lisa Parce, Maynooth University, Adult & Community Education - Lisa has designed a university-level course using Nature's Notebook as a service learning project. For 6 to 8 weeks each semester students contribute observations using a select campus monitoring location. They learn a great deal about the value of repeated visits to the garden, paying close attention, and their contributions to the understanding of local seasonal change. This project is a success because it has spanned multiple years and students are able to compare their observations to others. Moreover, almost everyone reports learning a great deal about the plants they are observing and the value of taking time to slow down.

Suzanne Mrozak, Arnold Arboretum Tree Spotter Citizen Science Program - Suzanne, the volunteer, volunteer coordinator of the Tree Spotter program facilitates the monitoring schedule of the group of regular participants. Through workshops, volunteer gatherings, social media engagement, and phenology education Suzanne ensures that there are year-round data collected for the Arboretum's scientists and staff to use to better understand the effects of a changing climate on plants.

Esperanza Stancioff and Beth Bisson, Signs of the Seasons: A New England Phenology Program - Operated in partnership by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant the Signs of the Season (SoS) Program helps document the local effects of global climate change. Esperanza and Beth recruit, train, and provide continuing education to hundreds of backyard observers and participants at local partnering sites. Collected data are used by collaborating scientists and resource managers.

Become a Phenology Leader