Maps of spring onset across the country

While compiling the USA-NPN 2015 Data Quality Report, our office found a happy trend - in 2015, we saw more observers reporting those important negative data that precede a first "yes" observation than in previous years. We also found that the gap in between that last "no" and first "yes" keeps shrinking, meaning more precision in the data. We are certain that much of this can be attributed to all of you wonderful Local Phenology Leaders out there training your volunteers!

We're all abuzz at our office this week about our new maps (above) showing the spread of the onset of spring, and how this spring is different than the 30-year average. Find out when spring arrives in your neighborhood by checking the maps, which update daily. 

Don't forget to make a plan to celebrate National Citizen Science Day on April 16th! We have some ideas for you below.



What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
These maps tell you when spring is arriving


Want to know when spring is arriving in your neighborhood, and how this spring stacks up to previous years? We've used the Extended Spring Index models to create a gridded map that shows when spring has arrived across the US. A second map shows how this spring compares to the 1981-2010 average. These maps are updated daily, so check back frequently to see when spring happens in your neighborhood. 


Explore the maps �

New campaigns to join this spring
We have two brand new campaigns for you to join this year! Shady Invaders, created by Penn State researchers, will help us learn more about how invasive shrubs are out-competing native shrubs in eastern forests. Southwest Season Trackers, created by researchers at the Jornada Experimental Range in New Mexico, will document phenology of shrubs and grasses in the Southwest. 

Visit the pages above to find out how to sign up for these campaigns, and see the badges you can earn for participating. And stay tuned for a special message promoting these campaigns coming soon to your inbox!

You can now purchase Nature's Notebook gear!
Want to show your Nature's Notebook pride? You can now purchase t-shirts, tote bags and more, embroidered with the USA-NPN or Nature's Notebook logos. We hope these will provide great rewards for your phenology group members! 

Recent happenings in the field of phenology
Photo_ Jason Hollinger via Wikimedia Commons
Herbarium records provide insight to Southeastern flowering plant phenology

Flowering in sub-tropical regions is thought to be more sensitive to temperature than precipitation, though this has not been widely studied. The authors of this study looked at herbarium records of over 1700 native herbaceous flowering plant species from South Carolina from 1951 to 2009. They found plants with early spring, late spring, and summer flowering were all responsive to increasing February and March temperatures.

Photo: Brian F Powell
How birds are coping with climate change

A new study published in Global Change Biology used bird location and climate data to make predictions of how bird breeding distributions are changing. Bird ranges may be shifting by up to 3 miles per year, with a portion of the birds shifting their range in an unexpected westward direction. 

Audubon offers a summary of what the research reveals, how it fits into previous studies, and the implications for conservation of these species.

Read the Audubon article �

More ways to get involved
Upload your high quality phenophase photos

We are seeking high quality, high resolution photos of plant and animal phenophases for use in education materials! If you have high quality photos, you can upload them to our USA-NPN Phenophases Flickr Page. We hope that partners like you will use these photos to create Phenophase Photos Guides and other training resources. 

Environmental Education Grants available

The Environmental Protection Agency is offering up to 30 grants of up to $90,000 each this year for locally-focused environmental education projects. These projects should increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. 

If you apply to fund a project using Nature's Notebook, we would be happy to write a letter of support! Applications are due April 8th. 
Learn more �

Photo: Daniel Schissler
Botany Blast at the Arnold Arboretum

In the Boston area? The Arnold Arboretum's Tree Spotters program is hosting a phenology walk to teach visitors about the phenology and anatomy of bursting buds, emerging leaves, and opening flowers. The walk will take place Monday, April 11, from 5:30 to 7pm. 

You can also take part in one of three training sessions offered in February, March, and April to become a Tree Spotter yourself.
Learn more about the walk �

Especially for Local Phenology Leaders
Office hours with our Education Coordinator

Do you have questions about Nature's Notebook, how to use the program at your site, or how to integrate it into your curriculum?  We've opened up an hour on March 10th from 2 to 3pm EST for you to speak directly with our Education Coordinator, LoriAnne Barnett, or listen in to other's questions to help give you ideas on how best to use Nature's Notebook.

National Citizen Science Day is April 16th

Last September the White House announced a nationwide Citizen Science Day to be held on April 16, 2016. We hope that you and your Nature's Notebook group will celebrate yourselves on this day as citizen scientists collecting important, scientifically-useful data. 

Here are some ideas for your Citizen Science Day celebration:


Erin Posthumus 
Outreach Coordinator
 LoriAnne head shot
LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator