Photo: Brian F Powell.

Happy New Year! I hope that your 2016 is off to a phentastic start. Make it a New Year's resolution to spend more time outside this year! 

If you want to get a better estimate of when phenology might ramp up for plants and animals in your neighborhood this spring, explore phenology of previous years in our Visualization Tool. Video tutorials on how to use the Tool can be found on the right hand side of the page.


What your data are telling us
Photo: TylerN, iStockphoto
Warm December causes odd phenology in East

Did you notice any peculiar phenology events last month? If so, you weren't alone. We heard from many observers about flowers blooming, insects flying, and bulbs sprouting when they usually are dormant.  

NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook explores the source of this strange weather and the consequences of this El Nio year for plants and animals
Your observations integrated with satellite data

new video from NEON Education explains how on-the-ground observations of leaf phenology, camera images and satellite data are integrated to understand phenology across the globe. Your Nature's Notebook observations are highlighted as a critical piece of this process.  
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Exciting additions on the way for 2016

We have plenty of new additions to get you excited for phenology monitoring this year! In the next few months, watch out for:
  • Three new campaigns focused on eastern shrubs, southwest plants, and mayflies
  • Real-time maps of when spring is arriving in your area
  • New video tutorials for setting up a site, making observations, and more
  • Improvements to our smartphone app, Visualization Tool and Data Output Tool
  • The Phenophase Primer - a guide to the tricky phenophases in Nature's Notebook and companion to last year's Botany Primer
Let's get to 2 million records in 2016!

We've set the bar high this year - 2 million phenology records submitted to Nature's Notebook- but we know that you all can do it! Check back on the Nature's Notebook homepage throughout the year to see new species appear on the tree that tracks progress on this goal. This year's tree will celebrate pollinators!

Recent happenings in the field
Photo: Tom Grey
Warblers shift breeding time to maximize food resources

Animals may be adversely affected if they are not able to match shifts in timing of their food or other resources. The authors of a new study found black-throated blue warblers have a varied diet and the ability to shift the timing of their nesting, which protects them from trophic mismatch after arrival at their breeding grounds.

Nature's Notebook Nuggets
Brush up on Frequently Asked Questions

Did you know that we have detailed answers to all of the commonly asked questions about observing with Nature's Notebook? Find answers about everything from how to select appropriate site to what to do if you miss a phenophase. 

We'll be back with more Nature's Notebook Nuggets in our next newsletter! 

More ways to get involved
Photo: GaylaLin, Wikimedia Commons
Purchase a cloned dogwood or lilac to observe this year

Do you want to contribute to a dataset 50 years in the making? Cloned plants are special because they allow us to know with confidence that differences in the timing of flowering and leafing between different individuals is due to differences in local environmental conditions.

Purchase a cloned lilac (Syringa x chinensis 'Red Rothomagensis') or dogwood (Cornus florida 'Appalachian Spring') and submit your observations to Nature's Notebook this spring! Follow the links below to purchase a cloned plant, and check out the cloned lilac and dogwood pages for planting information and how to make observations on these species. 

7th Annual MnPN Gathering

Do you live in the Midwest? Take part in the 7th Annual gathering of the Minnesota Phenology Network, Phenology in an El Nio Year, from February 12-14th, 2016. This will be a hands-on learning event, with special guest speakers, phenology hikes and sessions on natural history. 

Photo: Brian F Powell
Phenology featured in the Desert Leaf

An article in the most recent issue of the Desert Leaf, a magazine of Tucson's Catalina Foothills, celebrates phenology observations in the Sonoran Desert. Learn about how citizens are documenting changes in this ecosystem. The story starts on page 18.

Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator