The summer solstice is approaching and we hope that you are having a safe season. June 19-26 is pollinator week, and I know that I am looking forward to observing some of the hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies visiting my yard. If the summer heat is keeping you indoors, I encourage you to check out PBS's My Garden of a Thousand Bees, which is a wonderful documentary about observing bees in an urban garden.

For pollinator week, we challenge you to identify and observe one new species of bee, butterfly, or hummingbird visiting your site! Even if the pollinator that you identify is not yet included in our species list, it is still a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the ecology and diversity of your site. If you do identify something new, take a picture and let us know!

Thank you for observing, and have a safe and fulfilling summer!

Special Feature: Summer bugs pestering you?

Why Record Pest Observations?

Insects are critical components to healthy and diverse ecosystems. However, for some species, if conditions are ripe for their populations to get out of control, they can cause major damage to ecosystems, crops, and even affect human health. While we often think of pest species as being non-native, climate change and other human alterations to ecosystems can cause populations of native insects to reach harmful levels.

Your observations can help land managers better control these species as your data help confirm the accuracy of our Pheno Forecasts. These forecasts help predict the timing of vulnerable periods for these pests species, so that land managers can plan their treatments during the most applicable times.

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Bronze Birch Borer: Heather Holm

Evergreen Bagworm: Laurie Kauffman

Lilac Borer: Buggirlbecca

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid: David Cappaert

via iNaturalist

What your data are telling us

Testing the predictive power of accumulated heat for spring phenology

The ability to predict spring plant phenology has implications for ecosystem services and forest management. Researchers compared phenology data collected by the Tree Spotters (a Nature’s Notebook Local Phenology Program) at an urban arboretum, to those collected in a rural forest, and found that the urban site actually required fewer growing degree days than trees at the rural site, possibly due to other phenological cues such as light and a higher amount of accumulated winter chill than predicted.

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White ash bud: Ellen Denny

Closing the loop with "falling leaves"

A new study focuses on the creation of litter – the patterns by which trees contribute to the rich layer of decomposing material that is the foundation of the forest. A better understanding of litter creation helps fill out our understanding of the carbon cycle. With this work we are learning that your observations of fruit and leaf fall have more potential than we realized.

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Oak falling leaves: Armon Arani via Unsplash

What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN

Welcome to our new students!

Yash Sihag is an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona double-majoring in Computer Science and Statistics and Data Science with a minor in Information Science. He is an international student from India. Yash is working closely with Ellen Denny, the USA-NPN Monitoring Design & Data Coordinator, on the Phenophase Primer project.

Emily Tran is an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona majoring in Environmental Engineering. She is working with Erin Posthumus to cull and analyze data about forage resources for the lesser long-nosed bat in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Travis Matlock is an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona majoring in astronomy with minors in planetary sciences, physics, and mathematics. Originally from Portland, Oregon, he developed an affinity for the natural world at a young age. He is interning at USA- NPN via the TIMESTEP program, and his work includes data analysis and other programming needs

Meet our Students and Staff»

Updated Emerald Ash Borer Forecast

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a destructive beetle that has caused the death of millions of ash trees. Our new and improved Pheno Forecast for EAB, in collaboration with partners at Oregon State University, provides both a long-range forecast of when we predict EAB adults will emerge and when egg laying will begin as well as a look back at past EAB activity earlier in the year.

You can help us test this model by reporting your sightings of EAB! Learn how to identify EAB, how to tell it apart from other insects, and why this works is important in our new EAB Phenology Learning Module available at learning.usanpn.org.

Check out the forecast »

EAB Adult by tngardener via iNaturalist

Recent happenings in the field of phenology

Spring Flowers Blooming Earlier due to Global Warming

Researchers at Ewha Womans University found that maehwa, or Japanese apricot flowers, are blooming about 53 days earlier than compared to 100 years ago, while forsythias are blooming 23 days faster and cherry blossoms about 21 days. Noting that each species reacted to accelerated warming at a different pace, the team said the start of the spring season has socioeconomic effects on various sectors including agriculture and tourism, while also impacting plant and animal activity

Learn more »

Flowering apricot Flowers and Open Flowers by Kunpeng via iNaturalist

Nature's Notebook Nuggets

Wait... is that a fruit?

Pollinator week is the perfect week to observe fruits! Fruits are a means for plants to distribute their seeds, and are an important source of food for many animal species - including humans! Understanding the timing of fruiting helps us better understand the phenology of different plant species, population dynamics of animal species, and when humans can most effectively plant and harvest crops. However, when fruits first start to appear, they can be a little hard to identify. Check out this Nature's Notebook Nugget to learn more about identifying and reporting fruits!

Learn more »

Mayapple fruit by Ellen Denny

More ways to get involved

The Xerxes Society

If you would like to learn more about ways to get involved in protecting pollinators and their habitats, check out the Xerxes Society's Pollinator Conservation Program. They have wonderful tools and resources for learning more about pollinators and ways that you can create and maintain pollinator friendly habitats.

Learn more »


Samantha Brewer

Volunteer Engagement Coordinator



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