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Educators around the country are developing materials to use with Nature's Notebook.

Image credit:
Brian Powell

Nature's Notebook Activities

Explore Nature's Notebook materials created by the National Coordinating Office Staff and partners.

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Title Description
Phenology Activity Book for Children

This activity book is designed for youth ages 4-12.  It includes a variety of activites related to the study of phenology, or life cycle events of plants and animals, which can be used on their own or together. An answer key is provided as a seperate file.

General Volunteer Training Course Materials (Editable)

Use this annotated agenda with the sample training course PowerPoint and materials developed for one 6-hour workshop or two separate 3-hour workshops.  We have found it easier to break up introductory materials from navigating Nature’s Notebook and practicing observations in the field.  

Simple phenophase definitons and datasheets for use when NOT entering data in Nature's Notebook

Are you an educator seeking to work with younger audiences who may not be able to use our standard suite of phenophases and their full definitions? Maybe you'd like to develop interpretive signs at your park and just want to describe briefly the phases which can be observed if participating in Nature's Notebook

These simple phenophase defintions and datasheets can be used for educational activities to help beginner participants understand the phenophases for each species in Nature's Notebook.  

These are NOT meant to be substituted for our standard phenophase definition sheets and field datasheets for the collection of observations. The full phenophase definitions were designed to standardize the way data are collected by observers participating in our nation-wide program. Changing the wording and content leaves too much room for different interpretations of what is meant to be observed when participating in Nature's Notebook, thus compromising the consistency and quality of the data in our database. Researchers who use the data want to be confident that information collected in Maine or Florida or Oregon is as similar as possible, and the only way to make that happen is to ensure everyone is starting from the same place in terms of the phenophase definitions. For more information about how and why the standardized phenophases in Nature's Notebook were developed, please read our reports in the USA-NPN Technical Series entitled, "USA-NPN Phenology Protocols" and the "Plant and Animal Phenophase Definitions."

Thus, if you are using paper datasheets in the field and fully participating in Nature's Notebook, please refer to the datasheets and phenophase definition sheets linked from the profile page of each species in our searchable Plants and Animals Species List.

2015 UArizona Insect Festival Booth Materials

This tabling event was designed for the 2015 Arizona Insect Festival. The materials and activities included utilized the concept of life cycles to engage participants in making observations on insects. 

Species Research Worksheet

Use this worksheet to help guide students in researching chosen species for observation.  It can be used when beginning the implementation of the Nature's Notebook walk at the school or Phenology Trail in your community. Students can each select their own species they'd like to learn more about, or they can be assigned based upon what is available and how the instructor would like to involve the students in the project plan and establishment. 

Questions on the worksheet include those supplemental to the individual plant details and phenophase definitions for each, as established in the Nature's Notebook monitoring protocols. 

USA-NPN Education Resource: 2015-001-C

6-Week Nature's Notebook Program Implementation Guide and Jr. Phenologist Certification Program

This step-by-step implementation an curriculum plan outlines a 6-week long monitoring program, appropriate for classrooms, summer camps and after school programs.  It is a curriculum package that ties together a series of activities with the student-outcome of collecting observations for Nature's Notebook.

Before you begin, be sure to visit the resources for Nature's Notebook that describe how to set up a group monitoring site on our Start a Local Project Page.  Students have the option of becoming a Certified Junior Phenologist at the end of the course, depending upon the quality of their participation. The Junior Phenologist program requires that participating students under the age of 18 make at least 6 consistent and consecutive observations for Nature's Notebook, including entering the observation data from the plants and animals they observe into our National Phenology Database.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2015-003-C



Geocaching and Phenology

Nature's Notebook and geocaching can be a fun activity. Students can geolocate their plants at the established site and list the coordinates in the comments section when adding plants to the Nature's Notebook datasheet. Use this field datasheet when setting up your site outside. Includes a space to record the latitude and longitude, Plant name and description, and location descriptions. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2015-002-C

Data download and visualization for your Nature's Notebook group

This 2 page guide describes the ways that you can download your group's data, and the USA-NPN tools available to you to make graphs of your data to share with your group members. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2015-002-T

Summarizing Observation Records by Participant

The resource walks the user through the creation of a PivotTable to determine which users in a group have submitted data, on what date, for which species. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-001-T

Getting Started with Nature's Notebook in the Classroom

Nature's Notebook should be implemented in classrooms where teachers plan to make consistent observations with their students for at least a semester. We recommend that you only choose to do Nature's Notebook if you are able to collect data at your school for a two years or longer. Thus, you are the Local Phenology Project leader who is helping us collect data for the National Phenology Database. 

This four page document is a guide to getting started with Nature's Notebook in your classroom. It includes tips for planning links to our webpages, directions on how to get started, and PRO TIPS for implementation. It is designed to help you navigate the information on the Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN websites. 

Working with students under 13? In accordance with internet safety laws we do not allow youth to create accounts in Nature's Notebook if they are under the age of 13. If your group is 13 or younger, consider having a leader be responsible for creating and maintaining a Nature's Notebook account for the classroom and plan on utilizing our Simple Datasheets for the students. The leader can follow the official Nature's Notebook species definitions, make one entry for the classroom and still lead students in phenology observation. 

Some groups choose to create classroom accounts to be used by groups of students who may be sharing technology like iPads or tablets, using our mobile apps. If you have several general classroom email accounts, instructors can use those to create accounts in Nature's Notebook and the students can utilize the apps on the tablets to make observations.

If you are only seeking to take students out one time to make observations, consider utlizing our phenology activities in the curriculum section instead of creating an observation site in Nature's Notebook

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-015-C