The past year has been defined by lots of change, in our personal lives, as a culture, and as a nation. We here at the USA-NPN have also experienced major change. One of the most significant changes we've experienced has been in the loss of several members of our small team as a consequence of reductions in funds and other life changes. Kathy Gerst, Sara Schaffer, Kevin Wong, and LoriAnne Barnett will always be a part of the USA-NPN team, though they have moved on to different adventures. We wish them all the very best, including days filled with open flowers and ripe fruits.

In the wake of their departure, we are working hard to ensure the continuation of the programs, resources, and tools that the USA-NPN offers. More on this topic appears in an Opinion piece in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. We are excited by the prospects of the coming year and feel positive that phenology data and monitoring will continue to be appreciated by many. We look forward to continuing to work with you and thank you for your continued involvement. Here's to a year characterized by improving conditions all around.
What's new at the USA National Phenology Network
USA-NPN R package available in CRAN
The USA-NPN R package, rnpn, is now available in Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN)! Use this package to download, summarize, and manipulate phenology observation data, the Spring Indices, accumulated growing degree days, seasonal climate measures, and more.

Late-season flowering apparent in Nature's Notebook records
This past fall, out-of-season flowering was reported from all corners of the country, including forsythia and jasmine in Georgia and azaleas in Massachusetts. This pattern is apparent in observations contributed to Nature's Notebook as well - dozens of spring-flowering species were noted in flower in October and November. See what Nature's Notebook participants reported, and explore news coverage of this odd phenomenon.

Data and data products
Need help with NPN data & products?
The USA-NPN maintains phenology data in a wide range of point and raster formats, simple, and summarized, and through a number of tools. Need a little help understanding things and how best to access it? Just ask! We are happy to help you get what you need.

Despite COVID, Nature's Notebook persevered
COVID slowed Nature's Notebook observers down for a bit in spring of 2020 due to the closure of so many monitoring locations - but our amazing volunteers have persevered. By October 2020, the number of individuals reporting phenology observations was comparable to previous years' numbers. Hear more about the impacts of COVID on biodiversity-themed citizen science programs - and much more - in a symposium hosted by UMass Boston last December.

Nature's Notebook participants in the month of October, 2009-2020.
Research spotlight
Light pollution benefits mismatched birds
Authors of a new study published in the journal Nature sought to understand how human-caused light and noise pollution might pose additional challenges to birds impacted by climate change. They found that light pollution caused birds to nest a month earlier in open environments and 18 days earlier in forested environments. This advance in timing allowed the birds to catch up to earlier spring onset and availability of food, resulting in better nesting success. Managers can use this information to know which species are at greater risk from climate change impacts, and prioritize habitat for vulnerable species. Communities can also use this information to assess their own light and sound footprints.

Photo: Tom Grey
Call for collaborators: Morton Arb TREETIME Biology Integration Institute
The Center for Tree Science (CTS) at The Morton Arboretum is a hub for independent and innovative research centered on trees and the role they play in globally diverse environments. In September 2020, we were awarded funding from the National Science Foundation to design a Biology Integration Institute (BII) with the intent of submitting a proposal in January 2022. To broaden our network and facilitate new collaborations and transformative research, we are soliciting potential collaborators for a workshop to design a Biology Integration Institute focused on the theme of Terrestrial Responses to Emerging Environments through Time, Integrated from Moments to Eons (TREETIME).

Phenology forecasting challenge
The NSF funded Ecological Forecasting Initiative (EFI) Research Coordination Network (EFI-RCN) is hosting a NEON Ecological Forecasting Challenge with the goal to create a community of practice that builds capacity for ecological forecasting by leveraging NEON data products.

The NEON Forecasting Challenges revolve around the five topic areas, one of which is phenology. Stay tuned for upcoming information on rules and instruction to participate in this challenge.

Upcoming meetings
Theresa Crimmins