Happy fall! Our staff here at the USA-NPN are getting ready for a busy season of regional and national conferences. Next week, Outreach Coordinator and USFWS Liaison Erin Posthumus will be facilitating a phenology workshop at the Wildlife Society/American Fisheries Society meeting in Reno, while Education Coordinator LoriAnne Barnett will attend the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs annual conference in Columbia, MD and present on the USA-NPN’s collaborative community project designed to identify underrepresented audiences in natural resource programming. Later in October, LoriAnne will attend the North American Association for Environment Education conference in Lexington, KY to share the impacts of the Local Phenology Program Community of Practice .

If you are attending any of these conferences, please let us know so that we can meet up! For a full list of conferences that our staff will attend, see our Events page.
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
When do trees lose their green?
We are excited to announce the release of a new suite of land surface phenology data products, created in collaboration with Dr. Josh Grey at North Carolina State Univeristy. These data are calculated using information collected by satellites (the MODIS Land Cover Dynamics Product). The maps display a measure of spring and autumn timing and a measure of seasonal productivity.

The map at right shows the mid-point between peak greenness and total brownness, which is correlated with the process of leaf color change. What patterns do you see?

Site comments now available in the app
You asked and we delivered! Observers have long been requesting an easier way to enter comments about observation visits on the Nature's Notebook app. Rather than entering separate comments for each plant or animal you observe, you can now make a site-level comment for your visit and record information such as weather conditions, disturbances, and more.

10 year update on the USA-NPN
In a special presentation for the USGS' public lecture series, USA-NPN founding director Jake Weltzin gave an overview of the last 10 years of the USA-NPN, highlighting how the Network has grown over the years and touching on our future directions.

Where are observers and LPLs reporting?
We have over 15,000 observers who have submitted data to  Nature's Notebook  since the program began in 2009. The map below shows where these observers are located. Do you see any patterns in these sites across the country?

The gray dots represent individual observer sites, while the green dots represent Local Phenology Program sites monitored by multiple observers.
Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Helping urban growers manage insects
Urban growers need information about how best to manage pests, for example, knowing when to apply a pesticide to have the least likelihood of impacting a beneficial pollinator. Data resulting from citizen science programs like Nature’s Notebook , iNaturalist, and eButterfly can support urban growers’ efforts to increase the presence of pollinators and other beneficial insects and decrease insect pests. Growers can use these platforms to support insect identification, store their data in a standardized format, compare their data to those from other farms, and predict when pests will be most vulnerable to treatment.

Phenology changes across public lands
A new study in  Ecological Applications takes a look at projected future changes in fire weather, spring droughts, and false springs across US National Forests and Grasslands. The authors used the USA-NPN's  Spring Indices to determine the flower emergence date after which a hard freeze would be damaging. Areas projected to see higher increases in weather extremes included the Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and Pacific Southwest.

Lilac bud in snow,
Photo: Alyssa Rosemartin
Examples of phenological mismatch
Authors of a new article in Trends in Ecology & Evolution investigate the impact of phenological mismatches on ecosystems, and nutrient cycling in particular. The article also has some great illustrated examples of phenological mismatch that you can use in presentations.

Figure from Beard et al. 2019, Trends in Ecology and Evolution
Related resources
State Climate Summaries
NOAA is updating the State Climate Summaries that they released in 2017. These summaries include historical climate variations and trends, future climate model projections for the 21st century, and past and future conditions of sea level and coastal flooding. Five states have been updated so far, including NM, LA, MS, AL and NC.

Observed and projected temperature change for New Mexico, NOAA
Observer researches oak decline in AZ
Oak trees are a critical part of forest and shrubland habitats across the country, but many native oaks are threatened by climate change, development, and other disturbances. A new analysis of native US oaks describes current efforts to conserve these important trees. Check out page 19 to learn how one observer, Hilary Cox, is using  Nature's Notebook to understand decline in native Arizona oak trees.

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Become a Local Phenology Leader
Ready to start your own program? Take our online course to become a  Certified Local Phenology Leader ! Courses run 10 weeks and are offered in spring and fall. A 3-week short course is offered in the summer. The next course will begin January 27th, 2020. You can sign up on the  interested list now to receive notification when the application is available in December.

Join us at the LPL Clinic & Rally
The first Local Phenology Leader Clinic is happening next week, October 4-5, 2019! The Clinic will be hosted by the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and National Wildlife Refuge in Moss Point, Mississippi. The Clinic will include talks delivered by NCO staff, Gulf Coast Phenology Trail volunteers, a session on using Nature's Notebook data, program evaluation, and group-think sessions with deliverables.

The LPL Clinic will be held at Grand Bay NERR/NWR in Mississippi

Exploring phenology at school gardens
Phenology observations can be a great way to enhance school community garden programs. An article from the University of Arizona explains how Jessie Rack, who oversees the Supporting Environmental Education and Communities program, engages students in research questions and observations about local plants and animals. The students present their findings each spring in a formal poster presentation and an art exhibit.

Photo: Blue Baldwin
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator

LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator