Issue: Fall 2015

This fall has been a boon for the field of citizen science. The White House held a live-webcast forum at the end of September highlighting the release of the Federal Citizen Science Toolkit, providing guidance for federal agencies to design, manage, and carry out citizen science projects. And development of a Citizen Science Framework for the USFWS continues. Feedback on the draft framework was received via a webinar in September, and plans are underway for pilot testing of the framework next year. 

As field seasons wind down and you plan activities for next year, consider adding phenology monitoring into your Individual Development Plan. There are opportunities to gain in-person training in the Nature's Notebook plant and animal phenology observation program, including at the Moving Friends Forward training at NCTC in January, and the Grand Bay NERR/NWR Nature's Notebook workshop in February. 




USFWS Liaison
Education Coordinator
Phenology on the Refuges
New data visualizations for Valle de Oro NWR


One of the main objectives Valle de Oro NWR hopes to achieve by collecting phenology data is to establish a baseline of abundance for focal bird species. The graph at right displays the observed abundance of 4 focal species in 2015. 


Another key objective is to determine the timing of seeding for native Rio Grande cottonwood and invasive Siberian elm. Data from the Rio Grande Phenology Trial, of which Valle de Oro is a part, have already shown elms produce seeds nearly a month earlier than native cottonwoods. This information will aid managers in deciding when to begin restoration activities on the Refuge. 


Alaska phenology data added to USFWS hierarchy in the National Phenology Database


Five years of phenology data collected by staff from the Arctic NWR and other Region 7 Refuges were recently moved under the USFWS hierarchy in Nature's Notebook. These data include phenology observations of 24 species of plants collected at 6 different sites located near some of the nation's more remote NWRs. 


New Resources for our Refuge Partners
Federal Citizen Science Toolkit
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 the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015, which removes ambiguity about whether an agency can use crowdsourcing techniques, and a National Citizen Science Day to take place on April 16, 2016. Check out the mention of Nature's Notebook in John Holdren's opening remarks! 

Improve natural resource management by investing in citizen science
The Ecological Society of America released a report this fall that focuses on the value of citizen science for natural resource management. The report discusses how citizen science can help agencies meet core information needs for research and monitoring, foster public involvement in environmental decision making, and encourage collaboration. 

New workflow for using data collected by volunteers
Researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have described a new workflow to identify inconsistencies in data collected by volunteers. The method, published in PLoS ONE, will increase the usability of these data. 

What's New at USA-NPN
Download climate data with phenology data from the National Wildlife Refuge System
We have updated our data output tool to include climate variables derived from Daymet. These includes seasonal averages for minimum and maximum temperatures as well as accumulated precipitation. These data can facilitate research towards greater understanding of climatic drivers of phenology. Stay tuned for additional climate variables and sources, as well as site-level phenometric data! 

Comprehensive botany resource for Nature's Notebook available in print
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! 

Upcoming Events
Webinar: Climate change in America's National Parks
This webinar from the NPS Climate Change Response Program will highlight the California Phenology Project. As of November 2015, more than 1,124,000 observations recorded by natural resource managers, park interns, and visitors trained by the CPP have been contributed to the USA-NPN Database. Analyses of the four best-monitored species reveal that species and phenophases differ with respect to their sensitivities to winter monthly minimum temperature, rainfall, and their interaction. 

Moving Friends Forward Training at NCTC
The USA-NPN will be attending the Moving Friends Forward Training at NCTC from January 22-24th, 2016. USFWS Liaison Erin Posthumus will be giving a presentation on citizen science on the NWRS, highlighting the Nature's Notebook program. Hope to see you there! 

Phenology monitoring training at Grand Bay NERR/NWR next February
Save the date! The USA-NPN will be facilitating a training workshop for Refuge staff at Grand Bay NWR as well as other Region 4 Refuges from February 26-27th, 2016. Workshop registration will be forthcoming. 

Stay Connected
Erin Posthumus
US Fish & Wildlife Service Liaison and Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator
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