I hope that 2021 has provided a fresh start to you in the ways you needed it most. The past week has brought some beautiful rain and even snow storms to us here in Tucson, Arizona. The precipitation is very welcome to our thirsty desert plants that have seen much below average rainfall over the past few months.

Coming off of one of the warmest years on record across the globe, only time will tell what records we will break this year. Our Spring Leaf Index predicts early season plants are leafing out a week earlier than a long term average in parts of the Southeast. Check out our Status of Spring page to keep up with the progression of spring leaf out and bloom across the country.

For our Local Phenology Leaders, you still have a few days to let us know what you achieved with your Programs this year via the 2020 Annual LPP Survey! Also, consider a submission to our PhenoChampion Award to receive the recognition that you deserve for all that you accomplished last year.
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Share your experience with the media
Each spring, the USA-NPN receives various requests from reporters about when spring will arrive and whether we are receiving anomalous reports on the timing of plant and animal activity. We also receive questions about what it's like to observe plants and animals as a Nature's Notebook observer, including requests to speak with observers about their experience.

If you would be willing to share your experience as a Nature's Notebook participant, please let us know! We are looking for a few observers that we can call upon for requests like these.

Get to know our Pheno Forecasts
Each year, we make available forecasts of the start of springtime biological activity, key life cycle events in several forest and agricultural insect pests, and the invasive plant buffelgrass. A recent blog post by Director Theresa Crimmins for the Ecological Forecasting Initiative describes how managers can use these forecasts, why they are important, and what we are planning to forecast next.

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
How warm was 2020?
If you felt like last year was warmer than normal where you live, you aren't alone. New analyses from Berkeley Earth indicate that 2020 was the second warmest year on Earth since 1850. This video summarizes the changes. A State of the Global Climate 2020 Report from the World Meteorological Organization goes into even more detail about the current status of the global climate.

Climate change is shifting bird ranges
New results from Audubon's Climate Watch program indicate that climate change is causing a measurable shift in the winter and breeding season ranges for several bird species. The largest changes took place during the winter season, likely due to large recent changes in winter climate. It is unknown whether newly colonized areas can sustain these newcomers.

Photo: Tom Grey
Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
A few days left for the LPP Survey!
Each year, we ask you to share all that you accomplished with your Local Phenology Program through our Local Phenology Program Survey. Your feedback helps us understand the impact of your program and design better resources for you.

You still have until Sunday, January 31st, to give your feedback! You also have one more chance to win Nature's Notebook swag in our final raffle drawing this Friday. Winners of past drawings include Annie Barrett from the Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserves and Tom Slyker from Napa Solano Audubon.

Could you be the 2020 PhenoChampion?
Our 2020 PhenoChampion submission form is now open! The PhenoChampions Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of one Local Phenology Program each year. To qualify, Programs must have consistently collected data in 2019 and 2020 and completed the 2020 Annual LPP Survey (deadline this Sunday!). The application packet includes a 500-word description of the program, a short list of outcomes, an impact statement of work undertaken in 2020, a letter of support from an observer or partner, and a photo or other visual.

The winners receive a plaque recognizing their achievement and their choice of either a Nature's Notebook gear package for 10 observers/staff or a customized outdoor sign.

Applications are due Friday, February 12th!

This customizable Trail sign could be yours as PhenoChampion!
Community of Practice Monthly Calls
We are starting our LPL Monthly Calls again for the new year! Each month, join USA-NPN staff and other Local Phenology Leaders on a range of topics from best practices for volunteer recruitment to how to make visualizations of your data. Our upcoming February call will cover results from the 2020 Annual LPP Survey. Two call times will be offered in the third week of each month - Thursday at 3 pm PT / 6 pm ET and Friday at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET. Hope to see you there!

Related resources
Phenology featured on Warm Regards
Earlier this month, Director Theresa Crimmins joined the Warm Regards podcast to talk about how Nature's Notebook observers are contributing to large-scale climate change research.

Insect decline in the Anthropocene
There has been a lot of news coverage in the past several years on the "Insect Apocalypse." Back in 2018, an article in the New York Times brought heightened attention to widespread declines in insect populations across the globe. A new article in PNAS revisits this problem and takes a look at the current science and what is needed to mitigate the decline.

Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator