USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Arnold Arboretum

Two phenology efforts are ongoing at the Arnold, including the Native and Indicator Observation Program and the Tree Spotters program. 

Partner Type: 
Arboretum or Public Garden
Partner's Impact Statement: 
Lizzie Wolkovich, Assistant Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, launched the Arnold Arboretum Tree Spotters program pilot in 2015. Her research explores how climate and community assembly may explain and forecast plant phenology, which is strongly linked to climate and can be easily observed. Lizzie is interested in engaging citizen scientists to collect phenology data to support her research. From 3/25/15 – 3/26/17: Trained 238 volunteers to make/record observations in Nature’s Notebook (68,651 observations to date); offered 33 training classes (28 for new Tree Spotters and 5 refresher classes for returning volunteers), 22 opportunities for volunteers to meet with researchers on the grounds, and 6 educational sessions (also open to the public); held 3 social events. Staff: research assistants/graduate students/interns and a volunteer. Forty-three volunteers have participated actively in the program (making multiple observations and/or collaborating on special projects). We have also engaged the general public via our educational sessions. We have an active social media presence (Facebook, Flickr, Twitter), a monthly eNewsletter, a website, and a volunteer database. As a result of the success of this pilot, the Arboretum is now looking for funding to ensure that the program will continue.