Summer is in full swing, and observers are reporting phenology activity of plants and animals across the country. 

Despite a late start to spring across much of the northern part of the country, we have nearly reached the halfway mark towards our goal of 3.5 million observation records. Thank you for all of your efforts! 

Keep up the great work and continue capturing the complete picture of plant and animal activity at your sites this year. 

Happy observing, 

What your data are telling us
A look at seasonal change on refuges

National Wildlife Refuges across the country are working with citizen scientists to collect phenology data on focal plants and animals. Individual Phenology Dashboards for each refuge show what observers are reporting, from when birds have been seen at J.N. Ding Darling NWR to when to expect bur oak acorns at Neal Smith NWR.

Find out if a refuge near you is collecting phenology data!  
Lilac observers help validate spring models

Observers reporting on cloned and common lilacs are helping to validate models of lilac leaf out and flowering. These models, part of the Spring Indices, predict when these phenological events will occur across the country. The map at right shows that there looks to be strong agreement between when lilacs were predicted to bloom and when observers reported flowers this spring. 
Observations from a long-time observer 

Nature's Notebook observer Cathie Bird has been collecting data at her home in Tennessee for 10 years. Her blog, HollerPhenology, describes some of her findings, including bird nesting, butterfly sightings, and seasonal changes in many species of plants. Cathie has created a rich, long-term dataset that can show changes in phenology over time. We are so grateful to observers like Cathie who are dedicated to recording the changes they see year after year! 
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
The 2017 USA-NPN Annual Report is here

Learn about all that we accomplished together last year. Special highlights include how  Nature's Notebook   data were used in a study of mistletoe phenology, how managers at Midway Atoll NWR are using phenology data in their battle with invasives, and the ways the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is engaging volunteers to learn about phenology of local plants and animals.

Celebrating 10 years of Nature's Notebook

This month we highlight our Local Phenology Leaders! While many people participate in Nature's Notebook as individuals, increasingly more observers participate as part of a group. These groups are led by Local Phenology Leaders (LPLs) who offer training, support, and social events to keep their members engaged and submitting high-quality data. Over 100 LPLs have taken our Certification Course where they learn skills in program planning, volunteer recruitment and retention, and community collaboration.   

Learn more »
Recent happenings in the field
Photo: Juneau Empire
Seed dispersing bears influence plant community composition

In a new study, researchers at Oregon State University sought to quantify the role bears in Alaska play in dispersing seeds. The authors estimated that brown and black bears disperse over 200,000 seeds per hour per square km while foraging for fleshy fruits and then excreting them on the landscape. Brown bears disperse more seeds than black bears overall, and at different times of the year. Because bears disperse a large percentage of the seeds of fleshy-fruit bearing species, they have a great influence on the species composition of plants in their ecosystems. If populations of bears are reduced, the number of fleshy-fruited shrubs may also decline and be replaced by wind-dispersed plants. 

Nature's Notebook Nuggets
Tips for summer observations

Summer can mean a busy season for reporting phenology on your plants. You might find that you have leaves, flowers, and fruits all at once! Our Nature's Notebook Nugget will help you determine when to say "yes" and when to say "no" this season. 

More ways to get involved
Nature's Notebook campaigns for pollinators

June 18-22 was National Pollinator Week! We have two Nature's Notebook campaigns that focus on collecting data to help conserve pollinators. Flowers for Bats focuses on flowering of saguaro cactus and agave to better understand nectar sources for the lesser long-nosed bat. Nectar Connectors focuses on flowering of 53 species of nectar plants important for monarchs and other pollinators.  

Learn more about Flowers for Bats »

Photo: Julia Huggins, Wildflower Watch
Wildflower Watch in the Grand Tetons NP

Here and below, we have several opportunities for you to get involved with data collection during your summer vacations this year! In Grand Teton National Park, observers are following in the footsteps of Dr. Frank Craighead, Jr., who collected data on flowering plants there in the 1970s. Guided phenology hikes are scheduled for each month this summer.

Learn more »
Walking with Wildflowers on the PCT

Do your summer plans include a trip to Yosemite or North Cascades National Parks?  If so, you can help researchers better understand phenology of high-elevation wildflowers! Your observations will  shine light on which species are most vulnerable to changing growing seasons.

Learn more »
Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator