Issue: Winter 2017

This may be our winter newsletter, but for many of you it's feeling a lot like spring! Our maps of the status of spring show that spring has arrived two-three weeks earlier than a long-term (1981-2010) average across much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Learn more about the implications of this early spring in this USGS Top Story, and learn how Great Smokies National Park is seeking to understand the impacts of seasonal shifts like this through phenology data collection with Nature's Notebook

Wondering how this early spring is impacting your Refuge? We're currently working on an analysis of the start of spring in Refuges across the country, to figure out how spring is changing in refuges that are sequentially accessed by long-distance migratory species. Stay tuned for more on that effort later this spring! 
Happy observing! 



USFWS Liaison
Education Coordinator
Phenology on the Refuges
Photo: USFWS
Refuges in Northern MN connect with MnPN
Multiple Refuges in Northern Minnesota, including Glacier Ridge, Rydell, and Agassiz NWRs are getting ready to launch phenology monitoring programs. The Refuges will work with visiting school groups to collect phenology data on species of management concern such as buck-thorn, ash trees, and willow. 

The Refuges have linked up with the Minnesota Phenology Network (MnPN), a Regional Phenology Network of the USA-NPN, for a training workshop on March 9th. The Refuges will leverage the training resources of the MnPN and learn how to create Phenology Trails, focusing on species that are monitored across Minnesota. This will enable comparisons to observation locations across the state, some that have over 20 years of data, as well as comparisons across Refuges.  

See the workshop flyer » 

Photo: USFWS
Neal Smith NWR is gearing up for monitoring
Refuge Biologists and Visitor Services staff at Neal Smith NWR in Iowa are getting ready for a phenology monitoring planning workshop in early March. This workshop will help the Refuge to determine their goals for phenology monitoring, which focal species they will track, their monitoring schedule, and their plan for using the data. 

The workshop will be faciliated by USA-NPN liaison to the FWS Erin Posthumus in a train-the-trainers style format. Are you interested in a 
similar workshop for your Refuges? Email Erin

Photo: Tom Grey
Gulf Coast Phenology Trail training workshop
The Gulf Coast Phenology Trail seeks to better understand the phenology of focal species in this region, and how these species respond to a changing climate. The Trail will be hosting its first Nature's Notebook training workshop on March 18th. 

Participating Refuges and other organizations include Grand Bay NERR/NWR, Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR, Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex, Big Branch Marsh NWR, Crosby Arboretum, and Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

New Resources for our Refuge Partners
Earn this badge for observing Nectar Connectors species!
Join the Nectar Connectors campaign!
The Nectar Connectors campaign is seeking observers to track the flowering of nectar plants species across the country!  The USA-NPN is teaming up with the US Fish & Wildlife Service to better understand the flowering phenology of nectar sources for monarchs and other pollinators.  Observers will select species to monitor from a list of  52 focal species  that are important nectar sources for monarchs and other pollinators. We hope that your Refuge will join us in this effort by collecting observations and/or using the data collected to inform your management decisions!  

Photo: Erin E Posthumus
Phenology improves restoration ecology
Restoration is a vital process to return degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems to a state where they can support species of interest. While plant and animal phenology information is often used to determine the impact of environmental change on plants and animals, this information has not been widely used in the context of ecological restoration.  

The authors found that phenology information improved restoration projects, informing what and when to plant, improving the  timing of management actions, and increasing the efficiency of post-restoration monitoring. Adding phenology information into the  toolkit of restoration managers will help them to be more efficient and  effective in their restoration actions.

What's New at USA-NPN
Annual Phenology Report guidance
Is your phenology program on track toward meeting your goals? The new  Phenology Report Guide  takes you step-by-step through the process of creating a phenology report to help you answer that question. Learn how to access your observer statistics with  the Local Phenology Project Dashboards page summarize your  phenology data using the  Phenology Visualization Tool , incorporate climate data, and summarize other aspects of your program like your outreach &  engagement activities. Examples of annual and multi-year reports are  also included. 

Photo: Tom Grey
Spring arriving early across the Southeast
According to the USA-NPN's Spring Indices, spring is arriving 20 days earlier than a long-term average (1981-2010) in much of the South and mid-Atlantic. The  Extended Spring Indices  are models that predict the onset of early spring plants across the United States. You can see these maps as well as maps of Accumulated Growing Degree Days (AGDD) on the USA-NPN's  Phenology Visualization Tool

Upcoming Events
Citizen Science Association Conference
Are you planning to attend the Citizen Science Association Conference in St. Paul this May? We are! USA-NPN Liaison Erin Posthumus will be giving a poster presentation "Empowering group leaders with real-time data on participation and data quality". We hope to see you there! 

The conference will take place May 17-20th at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, MN. Let Erin know if you are attending so that we can meet up! 

Phenology Trails Webinar through NCTC
The USA-NPN has been invited once again to present as part of the National Conservation Training Center's Engaging Youth in Conservation Science Webinar series on July 11, 2017. 

This year, the presentation will highlight the Phenology Trails at the Minnesota Valley NWR. We hope you will attend and learn about how you can create a Phenology Trail at your Refuge to engage the public in collecting useful phenology data.  

Stay Connected
Erin Posthumus
US Fish & Wildlife Service Liaison and Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator
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