Issue: Winter 2016

Our office was recently invited to present on Citizen Science at the Moving Friends Forward Training at the National Conservation Training Center. USA-NPN staffer Erin Posthumus came back with a better idea of the needs of Refuge staff and Friend group members, and the challenges facing Refuges who want to begin phenology monitoring. 

If you are a Visitor Services staff member trying to get other Refuge staff on board with citizen science, check out the downloadable presentation links below. If you are a biologist looking for data on changes in climate at your refuge, explore our new gridded maps showing the onset of spring across the country, and how this spring compares with the long-term average. 

We continue to strive to bring you the resources you need to conduct phenology monitoring across the National Wildlife Refuge System. If there is another resource we can provide, or a question we can answer, please let us know!




USFWS Liaison
Education Coordinator
Phenology on the Refuges
Phenology monitoring beginning at Grand Bay NERR and NWR


A new phenology monitoring effort will kick off later this month at the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and National Wildlife Refuge. Grand Bay will be monitoring a variety of native and invasive species to better inform management practices at the Reserve and Refuge. 


We hope that this will serve as a pilot project for other NERRs and adjacent National Wildlife Refuges across the country. See more information on the Nature's Notebook training workshop for Grand Bay below.


Volunteer-led phenology monitoring at St. Marks NWR


A phenology monitoring program doesn't have to require a large investment of Refuge staff time. At St. Mark's NWR in Florida, Master Naturalist and Refuge volunteer Nancy Thomas has been collecting phenology data for the past few years. 


Nancy visits multiple individuals of 10 focal tree species near the Refuge visitor center on a regular basis. Nancy's data will provide useful information for the Refuge about leafing, flowering, and fruiting of these species, and how the timing of these phenophases changes from year to year. 


New Resources for our Refuge Partners
Find a cit sci program to suit your Refuge

At the NCTC Moving Friends Forward Training last month, we presented an overview of citizen science, including what defines a citizen scientist, the benefits of citizen science to both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and volunteer participants, and the usefulness of data collected by citizen scientists. 

The presentation included links to a variety of resources to find a citizen science program to suit your Refuge, and which programs are already being used on the NWRS. 

An introduction to citizen science
Looking for a presentation that will help you explain the value of citizen science? We've compiled a short introduction to citizen science that you can use to get your Refuge on board with this invaluable resource. 

What's New at USA-NPN
See when spring arrives at your Refuge
The Extended Spring Index models are a powerful way to track the progression of spring across the continent. This year, we are applying these models to gridded temperature data to map the start of spring, as represented by these models, on a fine scale. 

Dynamically updated maps show the progression of spring across the country, as well as the difference between the current year to a 30-year average (1981-2010). These data will soon be available for download via a USA-NPN Geoserver instance, and the maps hosted in our Visualization Tool. The maps are updated nightly, so check this page frequently!

Updated Quality Assurance/Quality Control for NPN data
We've updated the steps we take to assure the highest quality of the data that we curate in the National Phenology Database. Our Technical Information Sheet outlines the measures that we currently undertake as well as those we plan to implement in the near future. 

The Info Sheet also contains a Quality Control Report for 2015 which summarizes the reliability and temporal precision of these data. We continue to see an increase each year in the temporal precision of the data submitted. 

Upcoming Events
Phenology monitoring training at Grand Bay NERR/NWR February 26-27
Later this month, USA-NPN will facilitate a Nature's Notebook training workshop for a variety of organizations in the Southeast Region. Participants will include staff from Grand Bay and Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWRs and multiple National Estuarine Reserves, as well as individuals from various state organizations and NGOs. 

The workshop is currently full, but a wait list is available.

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