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Resources for Higher Education
Where do I begin?
Technology in education allows for collaboration in new and exciting ways, including remote data collection and analysis, collaborative webspaces and blogging. Developing a monitoring project that meets multiple course objectives will not only create a sustainable program but provide opportunities for cross-course and community collaboration.
Some faculty choose to do a one-time introduction to phenology and using Nature's Notebook. Others choose to create a semester-long project where students make observations, develop hypotheses about what they are seeing on campus, record their observations in Nature's Notebook, and then analyze data at the end of the semester. Doing a project such as this, over multiple years, helps to create a base of observations that faculty and students can use for comparison. We recommend creating a Group for your campus, to which you can add multiple sites, and invite individuals to make and enter observations on their own. You can track who is monitoring, for course credit, by becoming an administrator of the group. Consider partnering with other local non-profits and government agencies to provide multiple monitoring experiences.
Any semester-long implementation of a Nature's Notebook monitoring program can help address the Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education call for transformation. It teaches science and applications, modeling, critical thinking, and promotes learner-centered investigations and inquiry.
It would be wonderful to hear about universities encouraging monitoring in multiple classes, over multiple years, so students entering as freshmen can observe throughout their career at the school and then, as seniors, truly see what their data show and how things have or have not changed.
- Questions on how to get started? Contact our Education Coordinator.
- If you have ideas to share on how you implemented Nature's Notebook, let us know!
More Curriculum Ideas
Biological science courses use phenology monitoring in lab settings to track seasonal changes on campus throughout the semester and over multiple years. Dendrology courses use phenology to teach tree identification. Ecology courses use phenology data to teach statistical analysis and applied concepts such as climate change. Pre-service teacher courses use citizen science and Nature’s Notebook to provide future teachers with ideas about how to incorporate environmental education into their classrooms.
The table below includes links to some examples of how phenological monitoring is being used in higher education. On the link for Sample Nature's Notebook Higher Education Semester-long Program, you can see some recent examples of syllabi created and executed by faculty teaching at the college level.
Don't forget to ask students to explore the data using our online tools. The Visualization Tool allows students to summarize their data and compare it to across geographic locations. The Phenology Observation Portal allows students to download the data via an excel file and work with it to analyze trends through time.
View Nature's Notebook curriculum materials developed for higher education students in the table below.
|Nature's Notebook Lesson Plan Template and Example||
Create your own lesson for K-12 or Higher Education. Utilize the 5E Lesson Planning methodology to enhance student learning. Above you will find a link to an NCO lesson plan as well as a template you can use to create your own activity. Use Nature's Notebook as a framework for your lesson.
|USA-NPN Poster Template||
If you need to present a professional poster about Nature's Notebook, you can use this template designed by our NCO staff for your work.
|Nature's Notebook Program Planning Activity||
Before you begin your program planning activity, read through our guidance document to get some ideas for developing program goals and outcomes.
The Program Planning Worksheet helps you to begin planning a long-term phenology monitoring program using Nature's Notebook in the field. A "program" is a series of activities designed to help you achieve a set of outcomes. You can include ideas for short (1 year or less), medium (1-3 years), or long (3-5 years or more) goals and desired outcomes.
You should use this worksheet to help think through a relevant science or management question that your program will help to answer.
What are the resources you have and what do you need to obtain in order to do the activities you'd like to do? How are you going to share this information with your community and involve as many people in the process to make it sustainable?
Use either the Program Mapping Worksheet or the Logic Model Worksheet to help you further articulate your objectives. Then, utilize the Action Planning Worksheet to make a plan for achieving your short-term outcomes.
We also offer this planning document in Spanish if you are working with Spanish audiences.
USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-003-C; 2014-007-CSP
|Nature's Notebook Program Action Planning Template||
If you are a Local Phenology Leader with a monitoring program and want to keep track of the activities and outcomes for your project on an annual or long-term basis, consider using this Action Planning Template to document your tasks and track their progress. You'll find both a tabluar and a linear format on this webpage, both contain the same information. Use the one that works best for you.
This template works especially well if you are working with groups of volunteers OR if you are a Phenology Trail Leader trying to manage the work at multiple sites in your community. We suggest hosting regularly scheduled meetings - quarterly or monthly - with selected site leads who are willing and able to record their work for you on this planning guide. That way you can manage the needs and outcomes of everyone involved. For help with implementation of this process email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Logic Model Worksheet||
Logic Models help you plan and execute a program and provide a framework for evaluating your success. Before you begin a Nature's Notebook Phenology Monitoring Program, consider doing a Needs Assessment to determine if a Nature's Notebook is something that will be useful to you. Once you've completed that process, you can begin to plan your program using one of our Program Planning Worksheets. Finally, once your plan is drafted, you can create for yourself measurable goals that can be tracked and shared with all of your stakeholders and funders. Use one of these logic model templates to document what you'd like to achieve. We've included a tabular model and a linear model. Both contain the same elements but the tabluar model is for those who prefer to work with visual representations and the linear model is for those who work better with outlines in text.
USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-001-C