Issue: Spring 2016

We've just released a new suite of gridded phenology maps for you to explore and use. We have two suites of products based on Acculumated Growing Degree Days (AGDD) and the Extended Spring Indices (SI-x). You can use these maps to see how the accumulated temperature for this year compares to a long-term average, and see whether the onset of spring is "normal" this year at your Refuge. In the next year, we have plans to further translate these types of maps into more Refuge-specific products.

We've also seen a recent increase in news coverage of phenology monitoring and citizen science, including two features of Nature's Notebook on FWS blogs.These articles indicate a growing trend in the acceptance of citizen science within the Federal government as a viable method of data collection on Refuges. 

Whether you are looking for data on how spring is changing at your Refuge, or if you would like to start a new program to collect phenology data on your Refuge, we have the resources for you below. 



USFWS Liaison
Education Coordinator
Phenology on the Refuges
Gulf Coast Pheno Trail will link SE Refuges


As an outcome of the Grand Bay Nature's Notebook workshop that took place in February, plans are in the works to form a new Gulf Coast Phenology Trail that will include Grand Bay NERR/NWR, the Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR, and other Refuges in the Southeast. This Trail will provide much-needed phenology information on native and invasive species at these Refuges, and will help to fill in the large gap in phenology data in the southeastern US. 


A video made by one of our workshop participants, Sue Wilder, who is an Ecologist with the Gulf Coast Inventory & Monitoring Network, explains how phenology monitoring will assist the Grand Bay NERR/NWR to learn about how phenology of plants and animals is changing on the Refuge. 


Photo: E. Dicharry
Sevilleta joins Rio Grande Phenology Trail


Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge is the latest partner to join the Rio Grande Phenology Trail, an effort spearheaded by the Valle de Oro NWR to compare phenology of focal species on and off Refuges in the Middle Rio Grande. Sevilleta NWR will be monitoring native plants, including the native Rio Grande cottonwood, and New Mexico whiptail lizards. 


New badge mayfly observers can earn for participating
Mayfly Watch featured on the Director's Blog
A recent blog post in Director Dan Ashe's the Director's Corner highlighted citizen science and some of the opportunities offered by the USFWS. One of these highlighted projects was "Mayfly Watch", which encourages observers to report their sightings of mayflies along the Upper Mississippi River in Nature's Notebook

Last year, Mayfly Watch teamed up with Nature's Notebook to leverage the program and increase observations of mayflies. This summer will begin the second year of data collection for the project using the Nature's Notebook program.

New Resources for our Refuge Partners
Americorps as a model for citizen-led phenology monitoring
We've told you before that Americorps interns can be a great way to kick-start your phenology monitoring program. Now you can read about how Valle de Oro NWR hired an Americorps intern to coordinate the Rio Grande Phenology Trail, a larger effort that engages the local community and provides on and off Refuge comparisons of plant and animal phenology. The article was featured on the FWS's Open Spaces 
blog on May 10th. 

Federal citizen science has a new home

The US General Services Administration has partnered with the Wilson Center to create, a new federal hub for citizen and crowdsourced science. The new website serves as a 
portal to multiple resources for Federal agencies. Use the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit to get tips on starting a citizen science program, or view the many programs already in place in the Catalog of Federal programs.

Photo: Brian F Powell
Citizen science a cost-effective option for adaptive management
A study in the journal Ecosystems suggests that citizen science is a low-cost way to collect information to inform natural resources management. Engaging the public in science can also generate interest and investment that is critical to the adaptive management learning process. 

In addition to evaluating 83 case studies on their ability to resolve issues facing adaptive management, the authors also generated a set of recommendations for citizen science program design.

What's New at USA-NPN
Gridded phenology maps on the Viz Tool
Gridded phenology maps are now available for you to explore and use! We have two suites of products based on Accumulated Growing Degree Days (AGDD) and the Extended Spring Indices (SI-x). These maps can be accessed on the USA-NPN visualization tool as well as via the USA-NPN Geoserver. 
You can use these maps to see how the Accumulated Growing Degree Days for this year match up to a long-term average, and to compare the predicted onset of spring for this year to other years. In addition, you can map observations from Nature's Notebook against these predictions. These products have a broad variety of applications, including assessing frost and pest risk for agricultural species, and integration with other data sources, such as remote imagery. 

Engaging Youth Webinar Series
NCTC's Engaging Youth in Conservation Webinar Series showcases the variety of programs available to Refuges. Last month, USA-NPN Liaison to the FWS Erin Posthumus and Valle de Oro NWR Manager Jennifer Owen-White talked about how the USA-NPN's plant and animal observation program Nature's Notebook can be used to engage youth in meaningful science. 

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