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McDowell-Sonoran Conservancy Volunteer Training
The Phenology Training on Saturday October 29th at 1:00PM at Scottsdale Community College, presented by LoriAnne Barnett, the Education Coordinator from USA National Phenology Network. Students from Scottsdale Community College and folks from Desert Botanical Garden will also be attending this training, since they are also creating Phenology Trails on Campus and at DBG.
Here is a little background on the project in the Preserve:
Phenology is the study of the timing of plant and animal seasonal and cyclical changes, such as migration, germination, flowering and fruiting. Studying phenology provides scientists and land managers with critical information about ecological responses to climate change. The objectives of this study are to understand how these plants react to seasonal and long-term climate change in the Preserve, and to track trends in plant phenology in order to identify early warning signs of large-scale changes.
We will use the standardized USA National Phenology Network protocols for collecting observations of the timing of major phenophases of 4-6 plant species on three trails in the Preserve. Observations will be collected twice weekly throughout the year. The plants being observed are: Saguaro, Buckhorn Cholla, Jojoba, Desert Senna, Velvet Mesquite, Soaptree Yucca.
The three trails were selected for ease of accessibility and to include the variability in plant phenology between south, central and north in the Preserve. The plant species were selected according to the following criteria:
1. Is currently being tracked by other organizations in the Southwest so that data can be compared.
2. Is heavily used by pollinators (buckhorn Cholla, desert Senna), multiple species of wildlife (saguaro, mesquite, jojoba), or is a sensitive species (Soaptree yucca).
3. May be observed without leaving an established trail.
4. It’s easy for observers to identify.
5. May be used in future restoration efforts.
Trails and Plants observing:
Jane Rau Trail at Brown’s Mountain Trailhead. Three of each of the following species: Saguaro, Buckhorn Cholla, Jojoba, Desert Senna, Soaptree Yucca.
Bajada Nature Trail at Gateway Trailhead. Three of each of the following species: Saguaro, Buckhorn Cholla, Jojoba.
Kovach Family Nature Trail at Lost Dog Trailhead. Three of each of the following species: Saguaro, Buckhorn Cholla, Jojoba.