Photo: LoriAnne Barnett

We have some exciting new campaigns for you join this spring, with foci on invasive shrubs in the eastern United States and native grasses and shrubs in the Southwest. If you're wondering which species you should track through Nature's Notebook, the Join a Campaign page is a great place to start! 

Later this spring, the first-ever National Citizen Science Day will be held on April 16th. This day will celebrate citizen scientists - that's you! Find an event in your area at and connect with others to celebrate your important contribution to this field. 

Happy Spring Observing! 

What your data are telling us
New maps show when spring is arriving 

Our new gridded maps show that for much of the country, spring is here! In some regions, leaves are starting to emerge across the US as much as three weeks earlier than usual. 

These maps are based on models that incorporate historical cloned lilac and honeysuckle observations as well as local weather data to determine a set of conditions that precede leaf-out in a wide range of plants. Check out the maps to see if the predictions are right for your area. 
What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Photo: J. Glover via
Wikimedia Commons
Improvements to phenophase definitions and new species to track

We've made small changes to some of the Nature's Notebook phenophase definitions to make them easier to follow. Definitions for colored leaves, flowers or flower buds, and initial growth will now be even more clear - taking the guesswork out of making your observations.

We've also added several new species for you to track this year, including some long-awaited mammals (porcupines!), ants, beetles, cicadas and grasshoppers.   
Helpful tip sheet for NN mobile apps smartphone_stocks.jpg

Do you need more guidance on how to use the Nature's Notebook mobile apps? These helpful tip sheets, illustrated with screencaps from the apps, explain how to make observations, add a new site, and more.

Track focal species through a new campaign

Are you looking for suggestions of what species to monitor this year? The focal species that are part of our Nature's Notebook campaigns are of species interest to researchers. 

Southwest observers can track native shrubs and grasses, observers in eastern states can capture phenology of invasive and native shrubs, and those in the Midwest can document the emergence of mayflies this summer. Check out our Campaign Page and find a campaign in your area. Don't forget to sign up for campaign messaging on the right sidebar of the individual campaign pages. 

Recent happenings in the field
Photo_ L. Scott Mills research photo
Bad news for mismatched snowshoe hares

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Montana found weekly survival decreases of up to 7% for hares that had coat color that was mismatched with their surroundings, making them stand out like lightbulbs on a dark background. The researchers used models to predict how the population of hares is likely to change given the survival rates they observed. Under future climate change scenarios, they project that hare populations could decrease by up to 23% by the end of the century. 

Nature's Notebook Nuggets
Reporting on initial growth

Across the country, newly germinating sprouts are emerging from the soil, fresh leafy sprouts are sprouting out of snow patches, and new green growth is initiating on previously dormant and resting plants. It's time to record observations for "initial growth"! 

More ways to get involved
Catch us on NPR's Here & Now next week

USA-NPN's Executive Director Jake Weltzin will be talking with Robin Young on NPR's Here & Now next Wednesday, March 23rd at 11:30 am Pacific / 2:30pm Eastern. Jake and Robin will be discussing how this year's unusually warm winter is affecting plant and animal phenology around the country. 

Purchase Nature's Notebook t-shirts and more

You can now show your Nature's Notebook  pride with t-shirts, hats, bags, and more embroidered with the Nature's Notebook or USA-NPN logo! 

The Art of Paying Attention

Amid the buzz of spring, don't forget to slow down and appreciate the wonders of nature surrounding you. In this ongoing radio series, writer and artist Beth Surdut talks about what happens when you pay close attention to your surroundings. Her latest story tells of her encounters with tiny hummingbirds. Follow the links of the sidebar of the page linked below to hear Beth's other critter tales.   

Erin Posthumus
Outreach Coordinator