The end of the growing season is approaching, but things are not slowing down in the field of phenology! We are proud to report that the number of records submitted to Nature's Notebook continues to grown exponentially - thanks to your efforts.  

Even the White House recognizes your success, as was apparent at the recent Open Science and Innovation forum and subsequent release of the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit. Both highlighted Nature's Notebook and the high standard we all set for the involvement of the public in the collection of scientific data. Congratulations and thank you for your wonderful contributions to the program! 



What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
New Federal Toolkit provides guidance for citizen science programs


The recent Open Science and Innovation Forum at the White House launched the release of the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit. The Toolkit provides guidance for Federal agencies to design, carry out, and manage citizen science projects. Nature's Notebook was highlighted in both the Forum and Toolkit as successful example of a citizen science program. 


Other notable events at the Forum included the announcement of a National Citizen Science Day, to take place on April 16, 2016, and the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015, which removes ambiguity about whether an agency can use crowdsourcing techniques. Check out the mention of Nature's Notebook in John Holdren's opening remarks!


 Learn more »


Botany Primer is now available in hard copy!  


When we released the Botany Primer online last spring, we asked you whether you would like to have the Primer available for purchase in printed form. The reply was overwhelmingly "yes!" 


You can now purchase the Primer in spiral-bound, printed form for $24.99, which includes shipping and handling (USA-NPN makes no profit). Groups should keep in mind that ordering multiple copies saves on shipping and handling costs. And of course you can always download a free PDF copy!


Purchase the Primer » 


What patterns did 2015 reveal?

If you missed the Year-end webinar, you can still learn about the patterns revealed in your data this year. This year we saw a strong climatic dipole, with the western US experiencing record hot and dry temperatures while the east remained relatively cool. 

This was reflected in your observations of campaign species such as quaking aspen, which broke bud earlier in the west than the east, as well as bumblebees, which appeared earlier in the spring in the west than the east.  

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Photo: Kreg Steppe, Flickr
California pistachios are shooting blanks

Pistachio growers know that they can expect about 10 percent of their nuts to be "blanks" each year, where the nuts do not produce fruits. But this year, as much as 50 percent of the pistachio crop could be blanks. 

As this story on NPR tells us, it turns out that like many trees, pistachios have chilling requirements - they need certain minimum temperatures for the female and male trees to bloom and pollinate. When they don't get their required chilling, the male trees bloom and release their pollen after the female trees have bloomed, resulting in a missed a pollination opportunity and empty nut shells. 

Learn more »


Increasing winter temperatures and rainfall cause shifts in phenology in California

The California Phenology Project, a partner of the USA-NPN, began in 2010 collecting observations of leaf budding, flowering, fruiting and leaf drop in California plant speces. These observations were compared with climate variables such as temperature and rainfall in a recent article in Ecosphere

The authors were able to detect variability in phenology across California for the four plant species studied. Generally, precipitation strongly influenced leaf phenology, while both precipitation and temperature were important for flower and fruit phenology. This study also tested data collection methods by volunteers and National Park Service staff using Nature's Notebook, and demonstrates the usefulness of data collected by trained volunteers.   

More ways to get involved
Fun and informative blog on phenology

The Temporal Ecology blog from Phenologist Dr. Lizzie Wolkovich's lab highlights phenology activities at the Arnold Arboretum in MA. The blog also includes stories and adventures in phenology observations from the lab participants. Check out the video showing time lapse of a Hibiscus flower opening, and challenge yourself and your group members to figure out when on the video you can first see 'open flowers'! 

Learn more »


Does your project monitor restoration in the Northwest?

If so, consider submitting an abstract for the Society for Ecological Restoration's Northwest Region Conference next year. One of the themes this year is restoration in the context of climate change. The conference will take place April 4-8, 2016 in Portland, OR and abstracts are due December 31. 

Learn more »


Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
New Resource page for groups

We've compiled the resources available to our Local Phenology Projects based on your most frequently asked questions. You can now easily find editable workshop materials, templates and logos, plant tag ideas, phenology videos and webinar recordings.


Learn more » 

It's not too late celebrate Phenology Days!

We encourage you to celebrate all things phenology during the month of October! We will be hosting a variety of fun phenology events around the Tucson area from October 16-24, which can give you ideas for your own events. 


Create your own phenology festivities, and share your pictures on Instagram or Twitter with #phenoweek2015.  


Learn more » 



Erin Posthumus 
Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator