Nature’s Notebook

Connecting People with Nature to Benefit Our Changing Planet

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With our new Local Phenology Leader Certification Course, we're bringing the workshop experience to you! 

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Erin Posthumus

Local Phenology Leader Certification Course

The USA National Phenology Network’s Local Phenology Leader Certification Course is designed to help you establish a Nature's Notebook citizen science program. It is most appropriate for those interested in developing long-term phenology datasets and long-term engagement programs (not just one-time opportunities) using Nature's Notebook. The course is online and interactive; participants work with a cohort of others across the county and with USA-NPN Outreach and Education Staff to gain the skills need to develop a program plan, recruit volunteers, collect observations, analyze observation data, and collaborate with community partners. 

LPL Certification Course badgeThe Local Phenology Leader (LPL) Certification Course is an interactive and intensive 10-week, 45-50* hour Course requiring participation in a combination of online assignments, group discussions, and the development of an individualized program plan for phenology monitoring with Nature's Notebook. Participants must obtain a score of 80% on the overall course to become a Certified Local Phenology Leader, an award that designates trained leaders in Nature's Notebook system and highlights them on the LPL Certified Leaders page.

The cost of the course is $55.00.

For more information on Local Phenology Programs and Local Phenology Leaders, see our Phenology Walk and Trails Guide.

*Participants should plan to spend about 5 hours a week on the assignments.

apply now!

What are the benefits of becoming a Certified Local Phenology Leader?

1. You will learn how to create and implement a sustainable long-term Nature's Notebook phenology monitoring program that lasts for more than 2 years.

2. If you successfully complete this Course, you will be recognized as knowledgeable about the USA-NPN monitoring and programmatic protocols and are able to train others. A flag in our database will indicate you are a "Certified" Local Phenology Leader enhancing Quality Assurance of the National Phenology Dataset. Your achievement will be publicly recognized on our website.

3. Join a community of other leaders, some of whom are just getting started and others who have been monitoring with volunteers for over 10 years. There are monthly meetings available for you to ask questions and get fresh ideas to help you with your programs.

Course learning outcomes

  1. Define phenology and the importance of phenology to scientific research
  2. Use Nature’s Notebook online science program to keep track of phenology observations 
  3. Explore the phenology protocols for plants and animals and the resources available through Nature’s Notebook for making observations
  4. Demonstrate how to set up and facilitate a Group monitoring site in Nature’s Notebook
  5. Synthesize information about a potential phenology monitoring program
  6. Develop a programmatic approach to initiating, maintaining, and evaluating a Nature's Notebook program.
  7. Identify solutions for common barriers to participation and the sustainability of a phenology program involving volunteer management
  8. Construct content to engage new observers in phenology monitoring 

Major course deliverables

In addition to learning how to use the Nature's Notebook online system you will be required to create one of each of the following, which will help you get started at your site:

  1. A Program Planning Document to help you develop a sustainable program
  2. An original Phenophase Photo Guide to be used as a supplemental guide for your monitoring program
  3. A creative piece, such as a Nature's Notebook advertisement video, an introductory powerpoint presentation to be used for training your volunteers, or an original brochure or flyer to advertise your program

Brief course outline

Week 1 Welcome and overview of course
Week 2 Introduction to phenology and Citizen Science
Week 3 The Nature's Notebook monitoring program
Week 4 The protocols
Week 5 Your data
Week 6 Program planning
Week 7 Community collaboration
Week 8 Putting it all together
Week 9 Work on end-of-course deliverables
Week 10 Sharing session with your cohort



Course Structure and Requirements

This is an all online, interactive, 10-week (approximately 45-50 hour) course, hosted in an online course management system.

The cost of the course is $55, which in addition to the Certification, includes a copy of the Botany Primer and a shirt embroidered with the Nature's Notebook logo OR a Nature's Notebook Certified Leader name tag. The $55 fee is non-refundable.

Each week will include a combination of background readings, videos, and an exploration of the Nature's Notebook website and its resources.  You will be required to complete self-paced weekly assignments to demonstrate your competency, all of which will become part of a portfolio for you to use when you create a monitoring site for your organization. Each week you will also be required to participate in ONE hour long Online Meeting, with peers and USA-NPN Communicate and Connect Staff, to share ideas, ask questions of the experts and celebrate what you've learned. Meetings are offered on Mondays at 4 pm PST and Tuesdays at 10 am PST, and you select the one that best meets your schedule. 

You will be graded on participation, timely submission of assignments, and in some cases, scoring an 80% or higher on your work. You must attend 7 out of the 9 scheduled online meeting sessions to receive 100% credit for that section. In order to receive a Certificate of Completion with 50 hours of Continuing Education Units, and receive some USA-NPN gear, you must obtain an 80% for the course, overall. Specific details on coursework will be shared when you are approved and enrolled in the course.

Applications for the January 2018 Course cohort are closed.

The next available LPL Certification Course cohort is scheduled for Fall 2018. 

The course will begin on Monday, September 10th, 2018 through November 16th, 2018. Again, you should expect to be able to set aside 5 hours per week to complete the coursework. Want to participate? Add your name to our Interest List below. When the application is ready in August 2018, we will send you information about how to formally apply.

I am interested!

When selecting participants, course coordinators take into account: a submission on file of a needs assessment form and a description of how you intend to use Nature's Notebook.  We also try to ensure a wide geographic spread and a diversity of organization types (formal, non-formal educators, scientists, researchers).

For more information 

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