USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Spring desert near the Santa Rita Experimental Range.

Green Valley, Arizona.

Image credit:
L. Barnett

Tucson Phenology Trail

The Tucson Phenology Trail seeks to link the University of Arizona to the community, encourages people to engage in active, outdoor education, ask and answer local science, management and climate questions, and connects like-minded organizations together through a shared community project. 

Our Partners

Covering almost 75 miles in the greater Tucson, Arizona area, the Tucson Phenology Trail consists of walks at our wonderful partnering organization sites. You will find a sample of the species we are tracking and some local science questions here.  Partner locations include, from north to south:

  1. The Biosphere2
  2. The Tucson Audubon Society's Mason Center on Hardy Road
  3. The Tortolita Middle School on Hardy Road
  4. The Pima Cooperative Extension Office on N. Campbell Road
  5. Sweetwater Wetlands sponsored by Arizona Project Wet and Tucson Water
  6. Pima County Parks and Recreation's Agua Caliente Park
  7. The Tucson Botanical Garden on Alvernon Road
  8. The University of Arizona Arboretum's Joseph Wood Krutch Garden and Old Main Loop
  9. The Sam Hughes Neighborhood Association
  10. The Rincon Heights Neighborhood Association
  11. The Borton Magnet Elementary School's Environmental Learning Lab
  12. The Pima County Cooperative Extension Office in Green Valley, Arizona
  13. The Santa Rita Experimental Range in Florida Canyon, Green Valley, Arizona

Be sure to visit each of these locations to check out the tagged plants and animals and make some phenology observations.  Each site offers many other natural history, environmental, gardening and other great programs, so be sure to see what else you can learn while there!

Partner your organization or group

Want to join our Tucson Phenology Trail? We are looking for like-minded organizations to use phenology as a science and outreach tool in their existing programs.  If your group:

  1. Provides outdoor education opportunities, teaches about ecology, science and climate literacy, and encourages spending time in nature
  2. Is a school or program looking to connect with a long-term scientific research project
  3. Has a site that is staffed by volunteers or paid staff members interested in leading programs related to phenology, who can be a site "phenology champion"
  4. Can commit to facilitating repeated phenology observation through time for our national phenology database 

Then we invite you to join us!  Contact our Education Coordinator for more details on how to participate and partner your organization.  


Participate

If you live in Tucson, or are just visiting, you can help us build a long-term dataset for the plants and animals we've tagged in Nature's Notebook

Follow these three steps:

  1. Register for a Nature's Notebook account
  2. On the Edit My Account page, find the Tucson Phenology Trail Partner Group, and select the sub-groups you'd like to visit. 
  3. Save your updated information and return to your Observation Deck to start observing. 

Each time you visit one of these sites, help us by collecting data on the tagged plants and animals. We are Image Credit: L. Barnettespecially interested in finding the answers to scientific questions such as:

  • When is the best time to harvest mesquite beans (so the pods do not become contaminated from remaining on the ground too long)?
  • How many times do the ocotillo leaf out during the year? Are leaf out events closely tied to seasonal rains? Do the ocotillo leaf out and bloom at different times at different elevations?
  • When does the historic cloned lilac at the Santa Rita Experimental Range bloom? Is the bloom time earlier or later than in 2012?
  • When and where do monarch and queen butterflies use milkweed in Tucson?

We can only answer these questions if we have enough consistent data available to make meaningful comparisons, so help us by joining our project and making some observations!