By the time you read this, I am certain we will have crossed the threshold for 5 million records housed in the National Phenology Database that the USA-NPN maintains. WOW! You are contributing data at a faster rate than in any previous year - check it out via the Data Dashboard. Thank you for your hard work and contributions!

In this issue of the Narrative, we're unveiling a new feature: Nature's Notebook Nuggets. In this section, we'll address some of the tricky questions we receive from observers. The responses will be archived in the new Nature's Notebook Nuggets section of our website.

Finally, you can read about some of our key accomplishments, products, and partnerships -- that you helped to make happen through your participation and support -- in our 2014 Annual Report. As we say in the report, the USA-NPN is youThank you for being a part of the USA National Phenology Network!


What your data are telling us
The spread of spring across the U.S.
New for 2015: Springcasting!

When will your plants break bud, when will you see the first open flower? Using mathematical models called the spring indices and near real-time weather reports, we are mapping the spread of spring across the nation nearly as it happens. 

New for 2015, we are asking lilac observers to help us validate these predictions. We're providing lilac observers with predictions as to when we believe their lilacs are leafing out, and asking them whether we were right or not.

Warmer winters delay leaf-out in some plants

A recent study using phenology observations shows that increasing winter temperatures could cause a delay in the onset of budburst in some species, as well as a change in the order of when species undergo budburst. This means that in a warmer world, we could see pioneer and invasive species having an even higher advantage, which could result in decreased biodiversity and a more uniform landscape.

What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Nature's Notebook webinars - join us!

We have a great lineup of webinars planned for you in 2015. The next ones on the calendar are:
Webinars take place at 11am Pacific (and AZ), 12pm Mountain, 1pm Central, 2pm Eastern. 

Recordings of all webinars are available for viewing on the USA-NPN YouTube page.
Geoffrey A. Hammerson
New species added to
Nature's Notebook

We recently added protocols for 59 plant species, eight insects, and eight birds to our list, bringing the total to 1,016 species available for you to track. Have fun observing!

Have you seen your Phenology Calendar yet?

Your Observation Deck has a new look! The data you report are displayed automatically for you, in a graph similar to the example at right. If you have logged observations for years past, you can compare your organism's status for this year to your reports for previous years. Interesting to see which phenophases vary in time from year to year, and which do not!

Recent happenings in the field
Worst-case scenario for distribution of Abies lasiocarpa, 2081
Will the trees you monitor still be there in 50 years?

How will climate change affect the makeup of forests where you live? A new website,, shows how specific tree and plant species are expected to respond to different climate scenarios. The interactive website allows you to pick a tree or plant species, specify either a best- or worst-case future climate scenario, and look at the species distribution either in the present or in the year 2081.

Quarterly newsletter for researchers launched

Do you or someone you know use phenology data that the USA-NPN curates? If so, the new quarterly newsletter, The Leafletis for you (or that person that you're thinking of)! This newsletter is intended to grow a phenology research community of practice, and to keep members of this community abreast of opportunities and developments in the field.
nuggetsNature's Notebook Nuggets
Repetition isn't redundant... Yes! Yes! No!

When making Nature's Notebook observations for your species, each of the phenophase observation questions should be treated individually.  Your answer to each phenophase question, even though the observation may seem similar to another observation question, may help to discern behavior patterns for the species at a future time. So, it is important to record no or yes to seemingly similar questions.

Theresa Crimmins
Partnerships & Outreach Coordinator