We've only just entered into the calendar's start of spring, but you all have been busy! We're already at 25% of our goal of 2.5 million records submitted to Nature's Notebook this year, and we're closing in fast on 10 million total records in the National Phenology Database.

We are betting that many of you are also coming up with training resources, lesson plans, and other great tools that we don't even know about! To ensure that the great things you develop are shared with your colleagues, we've come up with new ways for us all to stay connected. See below for our new Facebook group, or   join our community of practice and sign-up for monthly calls with your fellow Local Phenology Leaders. You all have a lot to share, and learn, from each other!

Happy Spring, 



What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Congratulations to our newly Certified LPLs!
We just wrapped up the second iteration of our Certification Course for Local Phenology Leaders. Congratulations to newly certified Leaders: MaryBeth Factor, Jamie Kochensparger, Caitlin Potter, Erica Preston, Holly Jones, Lisa Nagurny, Erin Lamm, Tory Elmore, Colleen Graue, Jody Einerson, Trudie Henninger, Suzanne Mrozak, Stella Kovacs, Michelle Halbur, and Celia Cuomo. A few other Course participants will be finishing up their Certification requirements in the next couple weeks. Check out their draft videos about their programs on our YouTube Channel

Interested in taking the Course? Learn more about the benefits and what is required. 
You can improve your group's data quality
Photo: N Carlson
One of the questions we are frequently asked is "How can I make sure that the data collected by my group are useful?" The quality of your data is greatly influenced by many factors, including the training you provide to your observers and the frequency of your data collection. 

We now have a Data Quality page that reports on some of the metrics that we are using to track the quality of observations submitted to Nature's Notebook. This includes metrics such as the length of time in between your last "no" and first "yes" observation, whether you report on intensity measures (which are optional), and whether your observers are in agreement on phenophase status for a particular plant on any given day.  We hope it provides some insight on ways to fine-tune your data collection!
Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Extremely early springs accelerate leafing phenology
Photo: Joseph OBrien USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Extremely early springs such as the spring of 2012 are predicted to increase in frequency in future years, and much is still unknown about how leafing phenology will respond. Authors of a new study tracked the phenology of 43 populations of white ash and found that during the extreme year of 2012, ash leafed out an average of 21 days earlier than the non-extreme years. Changes in phenology can greatly impact a plant's survival, as leaf-out in a seemingly early spring can put the plant at risk to damage from late-season frosts and freezes. Knowing when plants will leaf out can help farmers and gardeners to know when to plant crops and cover vulnerable early spring buds.
How do bird migrants know when to travel?
Yellow-rumped Warbler, 
Photo: Tom Grey

If you track migrating birds in Nature's Notebook, you may wonder what determines when the birds will arrive and depart each year. It turns out, it depends on the bird and where you are! 

A recent article from Audubon explains that there are two basic types of migrants - facultative and obligate. Facultative migrants generally migrate shorter distances, and can rely on local cues such as temperatures and food resources to know when to move. Obligate migrants often winter far away, such as in Central or South America, and rely more on daylength to know when it's time to head north. So if you're wondering when to expect that warbler you track in Nature's Notebook, first learn a little bit about its  life history

More ways to get involved
Nature's Notebook featured on new TV series

Multiple  Nature's Notebook efforts are featured on the new WORLD channel series  The Crowd and The Cloud, premiering this month. The series focuses on the rise of Citizen Science, and its importance to topics as diverse as health and wildlife conservation.   The fourth and final episode, Citizens4Earth features two of our Nature's Notebook partners Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge   and the  New York Phenology Project . We hope you will tune in!

Going to CitSci2017? We'll see you there!

The Citizen Science Association Conference in St. Paul, MN is coming up May 17-20, 2017. Outreach Coordinator Erin Posthumus will be presenting a poster there and would love to meet you! 

Find our poster, "Empowering group leaders with real-time data on participation and data quality", or email Erin to set up a time to chat! 
Learn more » 
Set up a Monarch Waystation at your school

This year, we launched the Nectar Connectors campaign, which aims to help resource managers learn more about the availability of nectar plant flowering for monarchs and other pollinators. If you work with a school, consider setting up a Monarch Watch Waystation, where you can create a habitat for monarchs, tag monarchs through the Monarch Watch program, and  track the flowering of your plants through  Nature's Notebook.

More of a bird person? Check out Audubon's Plants for Birds website, which will help you decide what to plant to fill your garden with flowers that bird pollinators love. 
Learn more about MonarchWatch's Waystation Network » 

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Send us your phenology lesson plans!
Photo: Brian F Powell

We are always inspired when we learn about the great resources that our Local Phenology Leaders cook up. But sometimes our LPLs do great things and we don't hear about them! 

We are currently compiling lesson plans that focus on phenology and Nature's Notebook. Do you have a lesson plan that you use with your students or adult learners? Our Education Coordinator LoriAnne would love to know!
New Facebook group helps you stay connected
Photo: Brian F Powell
We've started a new Facebook group for our Local Phenology Leaders! This group is a forum to share ideas and resources with each other. We will use this group as a place for conversation in between our monthly Local Phenology Leader calls, which take place on the 3rd Friday of each month. 


Erin Posthumus 
Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator