Spring has sprung, according to the calendar, anyway! Phenologically, it might not feel much like spring where you are yet. The cold front a few weeks back did slow down plant development in parts of the country, which is reflected in our Spring Leaf and Bloom Indices.

The map below shows how typical this spring is for locations that have reached the requirements for spring leaf out. Parts of the west have seen the earliest spring on record, while areas in the east see springs like this one every decade or so. Regardless of the current status of spring, I hope things start springing for you soon!
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Changes to our datasheets for 2021
We have added several new plant and animal species to Nature’s Notebook, revised the “Falling leaves” plant phenophase definition for clarity, and adjusted several of our bird/mammal phenophase names to avoid confusion from the word "active."

Protocols for aquatic insects (dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies and stoneflies) have also been updated to include phenophases for egg laying and recently emerged (teneral) adults. All the other species and phenophases you are accustomed to are still here, unchanged, and waiting to be observed!

We also added the ability to enter the number of observers in your group while you record animals.

Welcome Marisol Ortiz to the team!
Join us in welcoming Marisol Ortiz as our new Community Outreach Assistant! Marisol is an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona. She brings experience with environmental education and outreach as well as research, and will be assisting observers and Local Phenology Leaders with their questions about Nature's Notebook.

New! Winter Wheat Pheno Forecast
Winter wheat is typically planted in the autumn. The plants germinate in late fall, overwinter as young plants, and resume growth in early spring. Winter wheat is cold tolerant in the overwintering vegetative phase but becomes sensitive to freezing temperatures once growth resumes in the spring. The USA-NPN winter wheat development forecast can indicate whether plants at a particular location are likely to suffer damage due to sub-freezing temperatures.

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Do flowers foreshadow beetle activity?
Managers have traditionally used dogwood blooms as an indicator of when to set out traps, recognizing that dogwood flowering tended to coincide with the beetle’s springtime dispersal. Using observations contributed to Nature’s Notebook, researchers determined that dogwood flowering is not presently a strong indicator of southern pine beetle spring emergence, and the reason for this might be recent changes in climate conditions.

Photo: Chiot's Run
Climate change cues earlier nesting
Early spring warming followed by a cold snap can cause large negative impacts for nesting birds. In 2016, a cold snap in Ithaca, NY killed more than 70% of baby tree swallows. You can listen to the story on Yale Climate Connections.

Photo: Tom Grey
Climate change lengthens pollen season
A new study in the journal PNAS discovered that in the period from 1990 to 2018, pollen concentration is increased and pollen season grew longer in North America. An article in the New York Times describes the implications of these findings.

Photo: Market Research Globe
Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Congratulations 2020 PhenoChampions: Indiana Phenology
The winner of our 4th annual PhenoChampions Award is Indiana Phenology! This non-profit was created to facilitate the long-term documentation of phenology changes in plants in all 92 counties in Indiana. They will receive a Nature's Notebook swag package for 10 observers as well as a plaque recognizing the amazing efforts of Local Phenology Leader Amanda Wanlass. Well done, Indiana Phenology, we appreciate you!

Results from the LPP Annual Survey
The results from the 2020 Local Phenology Program survey are in. 81 of you answered the survey, and we learned some interesting things about the most common types of organizations creating LPPs, your primary goals for tracking phenology, and some great tips for creating a successful program.

We had four raffle winners this year selected from those who completed the survey, including Georgia Seamans of Washington Square Park Eco Parks, Sheila Cubick of Mahoning County Extension Phenology Garden, Anne Barrett of Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserves, and Tom Slyker of Napa Solano Audubon. We will be highlighting the efforts of their LPPs in coming newsletters!

Fabulous phenology resources
Some of you have been cooking up some amazing resources for your LPPs! Earthwise Aware has created another series of comprehensive reports on their 2020 data collection efforts, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy's Parson Field Institute created some helpful videos on recording phenology of the Southwest plants jojoba and cholla, and Oro Valley Parks Phenology Trails narrated several in-depth training PowerPoints for observing species including velvet mesquite.

Related resources
World Water Day is March 22
March 22 is World Water Day, which focuses on what water means to people and how we can protect this vital resource. Learn about how you can join the discussion, or even take on the Water Experience and swap out coffee, soda and other beverages with only water for a week.

Climate Adaptation Leadership Awards
The Climate Adaptation Leadership Awards recognizes outstanding efforts to increase the resilience of America's valuable living natural resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. Consider nominating an individual or organization. Nominations due in May.

Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator