Nature’s Notebook

Connecting People with Nature to Benefit Our Changing Planet

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

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Erin Posthumus

Local Phenology Leader Certification Course

This online certification course is designed to help leaders establish a Nature's Notebook phenology monitoring program. It is most appropriate for leaders interested in developing long-term phenology datasets useable for research and engagement programs using Nature's Notebook. It is an interactive course where leaders work with a cohort of other Local Phenology Leaders and USA-NPN Outreach and Education Staff to gain the skills they need to begin recruiting volunteers, monitoring, analyzing observation data, and collaborating with community partners.

LPL Certification Course badgeThe Local Phenology Leader (LPL) Certification Course is an interactive 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 Projects and Local Phenology Leaders, see our Phenology Walk and Trails Guide.

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


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

1. Learn how to create and implement a sustainable long-term Nature's Notebook phenology monitoring program

2. Successful completion of this Course verifies you are knowledgeable about the USA-NPN monitoring and programmatic protocols. A flag in our database will indicate you are a "Certified" Local Phenology Leader enhancing Quality Assurance of the National Phenology Dataset.

3. Public notification on our website.

Course Objectives

  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. Identify solutions for common barriers to participation and the sustainability of a phenology program involving volunteer management
  6. Create 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 on the Google Community platform. You will be required to create a Google account to participate (or use an existing one if you already have one). More specific instructions on how to do that will be sent to you when you are approved for the course. 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. 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 Google Hangout, with peers and USA-NPN Communicate and Connect Staff, to share ideas, ask questions of the experts and celebrate what you've learned. Hangouts will be offered on Mondays at 4pm PST and Tuesdays at 10am PST. 

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 Hangout 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. 

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

The course will begin in January 2018. Want to participate? Add your name to our Interest List below to request an application.

I am interested!

After completing that form you will receive an automatic notification that your contact information has been recorded. When the course application is available you will receive a separate email from the course coordinator with further instructions on how to apply. The application is typically ready about 2 months prior to the course start date. 

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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