Nature’s Notebook

Connecting People with Nature to Benefit Our Changing Planet

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Local Phenology Leader Impact Statements

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Use this form to share with the NCO your annual program impacts from using Nature's Notebook to achieve your goals. We welcome you to complete this form on an annual basis. 

What is an "impact statement"?

Impact statements are often used by applied educational programs to describe the *value* of the work being done. Program impacts are more than outcomes in that they not only describe what was accomplished, but they communicate in lay terms the value of what was achieved. Impacts are the reason educators do what they do - to make a difference.

The Cooperative Extension System, housed within many Land Grant Higher Education Institutions, has developed many resources designed to help leaders communicate the impact they are having on their audiences. Their impact reporting is often tied to program planning processes and the development of Logic Models, which help educators develop programs that are actionable and relevant to their stakeholders. Adhering to a logical plan and reporting on results ensures the sustainability of the program. You can view helpful resources on how to create an impact statement from several social research-based Cooperative Extension Programs on the web, including Virginia Tech's Virginia Cooperative Extension Program; Oregon State Cooperative Extension Program; and University of Wisconsin Extension.

The National Coordinating Office of the USA-NPN advises groups interested in implementing a long-term Nature's Notebook Citizen and Professional Science Program to develop a logical plan for implementation with the goal of ensuring long-term data are being collected in a sustainable way. Working with volunteers on any application, especially something like the Nature's Notebook Citizen and Professional Science Program, requires a well-thought-out strategy for keeping people engaged in the process. This plan can take the shape of a Logic Model or a program plan describing short, medium and long term outcomes, focused on a broader impact. Broader impacts could include an educational program that hosts returning volunteers or visitors to a site, or a long-term phenology dataset that can be used for research, both of which require engaging volunteers or staff in using Nature's Notebook.

Thus, impact statements consist of three key elements, developed to describe WHY the program is being implemented, HOW the program was implemented, and WHAT the results of the program are. They describe the WHO CARES and SO WHAT.

The below form is designed to guide you through developing an impact statement for your Nature's Notebook Program. It assumes that you have taken the time to develop a Logic Model or Program Plan, and this is the response from your effort. Impacts can be described and shared on an annual basis, based on your progress toward your goals. There are three key elements to a good impact statement. They are RELEVANCE, RESPONSE, and the RESULTS.

Impact statements should be about 150-200 words total. They should use succinct language and clearly describe what you did and the value of your program.