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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.
|Needs Assessment Worksheet||
Needs assessments are an important element of developing a site-based long-term phenology monitoring program. Thinking through the reasons you wish to utilize Nature’s Notebook for natural resource management, scientific, or educational purposes will help you to develop something sustainable. Even better would be to identify researchers, land managers, educators, or outreach providers in your community to collaborate on a monitoring program. If you are a researcher or land manager, reach out to educators who can help you recruit and train people to collect the data you need to answer your questions and make better decisions. If you are an educator, find a researcher or land manager who may find data you collect with your participants of value.
For more information about the process and to share your form with the National Coordinating Staff, visit the Needs Assessment webpage.
USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-002-C
|Short Introductory Slide Decks||
This series of introductory slide decks can be edited for your use in Nature's Notebook workshops or other presentations.
Voice-over videos of the slide decks can be found here.
USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2016-001-W
|Basic Botany & Intensity Quizzes||
This is an interactive, online series of quizzes designed to help you better identify phenophases and understand the intensity protocols contained within Nature's Notebook.
USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2016-002-OC
|How to use the Observation Deck's Phenology Calendars||
Learn how to customize your own Phenology Calendars that appear on your Observation Deck. These calanders visually represent data you have collected and allow you to compare up to three species' phenophases at a time. They can be saved as a file, or set to automatically load each time you come to your Observation Deck.
USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2016-004-T
|Guiding tips for setting up an outdoor Nature's Notebook site||
This tip sheet can be referenced when setting up a new Nature's Notebook observation site in the outdoors. The content is from the monitoring guidelines established by the USA-NPN, and can also be found on the Our Reports Page in the How to Observe Handbook (EE-2013-001) Resource. The content begins on page 7, Section 2a. Choose a Site through page 14, Section 2b. Choose Plant and Animal Species.
USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2014-006a-C; 2014-006a-CSP - Spanish