USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Nature's Notebook in the Classroom and Field

This workshop was presented at the National Science Teachers Association - Regional Conference, Philadelphia. 

Sat, 11/14/2015

New NEON video on phenology observations from leaf to globe

new video from NEON Education explains how on-the-ground observations of leaf phenology, camera images and satellite data are integrated to understand phenology across the globe. USA-NPN's Nature's Notebook program is highlighted for its on-the-ground observations of plant phenology at sites across the country. 


NCTC Moving Friends Forward Training

This introductory session provided an overview of citizen science, including what defines a citizen scientist, the benefits of citizen science to both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and volunteer participants, and the usefulness of data collected by citizen scientists. Participants learned about programs that are currently being used, with a focus on the USA Nature Phenology Network’s Nature’s Notebook plant and animal phenology observation program as a case study.
Fri, 01/22/2016

Indigenous Phenology Working Group Nature's Notebook Presentation

This presentation included a discussion of engaging volunteers in tracking seasonal & long term environmental change using Nature's Notebook. It was a general overview of the program and how networks have formed across the US in response to research or management questions, historical records of interest, and community engagement.  

Tue, 01/05/2016
Number of Participants: 

Record high December temperatures result in unusual phenology

NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook talks about the disparity between a cold West and warm East this month, and what impact this weather has had on plants and animals across the country. Listen to the story.


Nature's Notebook: Engaging volunteers in tracking seasonal & long-term environmental change

This one-hour talk was delivered to participants in the National Park Service, National Capital Region - Center for Urban Ecology as part of their monthly "Science Forum". It focuses on how to engage volunteers in long-term phenology monitoring through creating meaningful, sustainable, well-planned and timed programs. 

Wed, 12/02/2015
Number of Participants: 
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Nature's exquisite timing: Using Nature's Notebook to track seasonal and long-term environmental change

 Some call it "nature's calendar" --phenology. On November 18, LoriAnne Barnett from the USA National Phenology Network ( presented to FODM and friends on phenology, nature's timing. "The study of recurring life cycle events in plants and animals is called phenology," says theNetwork. Some examples:

■  Warblers migrate through an area or raise their young when caterpillars emerge and become a major food source.

Wed, 11/18/2015

Researchers develop new method to evaluate citizen science data

Researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have described a new workflow to identify inconsistencies in data collected by volunteers. The method, published in PLoS ONE, will increase the usability of these data. 

University of Twente

Garlic Mustard

Appalachian Trail Conservancy is using Nature's Notebook data to estimate when garlic mustard will begin to grow in the spring, to target control effots.

Birds Eating Stuff (BESt)

[Placeholder] Ash berries, birds and insect monitoring

Targeted Monitoring Windows at Acadia

Acadia National Park is using both ground data on deciduous trees, forbs, birds and amphibians, and planning to use predictive models like the Spring Indices to allocate monitoring effort for both technicians and citizen science volunteers.

New study predicting permanent early spring uses USA-NPN's Spring Indices

Researchers at UW Madison are predicting that early springs could become permanent in the face of climate change. The study uses the Extended Spring Indices, which were created based on historic cloned lilac data housed in the National Phenology Database. Implications of early springs include mismatch between animals and the plants on which they depend, as well as "false springs" that may cause extensive damange to plant growth inlcuding agricultural crops. 


Sam Hughes Elementary School Introduction to Nature's Notebook

This introduction to phenology monitoring in the classroom was presented to elementary school teachers at the Sam Hughes Elementary School in Tucson (grades K-5).  You will find some helpful getting started and curricula resources below. All of the resources can be found by searching the main Nature's Notebook Curriculum page:

Fri, 10/09/2015
Number of Participants: 
Partner Organizations: 

Federal Citizen Science Toolkit highlighting Nature's Notebook featured on USGS's Top Story

The USGS's Science Features Top Story gives a compilation of resources and links related to the release of the Federal Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science Toolkit, the memo on the Toolkit from Jon Holdren, press covereage, and more. Top Story also focuses on the USGS use cases, including the USA-NPN's Nature's Notebook plant and animal observaiton program.


Nature's Notebook Workshop - PhenoWeek 2015. Workshop 1

This workshop was the first in a series of two held during the PhenoWeek 2015 Celebration. Objectives include: 

Fri, 09/25/2015
Partner Organizations: 

Teens in the Garden at the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona

The Teens in the Garden program at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona is a once a month program designed for teen volunteers. In addition to volunteering their time at the garden, learning and helping with garden tasks such as planting, horticulture, and staffing docent stations, the teens participated in Nature's Notebook by contributing observations to the database every time they met.

Sat, 09/19/2015

North American Bird Phenology: Program Coordinator Position


North American Bird Phenology: Program Coordinator Position

The North American Bird Phenology Program houses a unique and largely forgotten collection of millions of migration observation cards that illuminate migration patterns and population status of birds in North America. These handwritten cards contain almost all of what was known of bird status from the Second World War back to the later part of the 19th
century. The bulk of the records are the result of a network of observers who recorded migration arrival dates in the spring and fall that, in its heyday, involved well over 3,000 participants.

On each record, participants recorded their name, locality, and year, along with arrival and departure dates, date of abundance, and if it was a common species to that location. Many field report files are also found among the records which include more detailed information including species behavior, habitat, and a description of the sighting. The records are cataloged by species and locality, totaling approximately 900 species of birds ranging across North America. Many of the records have been scanned and displayed online where a network of volunteers transcribe each record. A custom-built system validates transcribed records. Once validated, all data are released to the general public and scientific community.

The information from this analysis provides critical information on bird distribution, migration timing, and migration pathways. There is no other program that has the depth of information that can help us understand the effect that global climate change has on bird populations across the country.

The work outlined here will support the management of the North American Bird Phenology Program.

Key Responsibilities
The contractor will support the needs of the North American Bird Phenology at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center with an understanding of general research, scientific, and data management principles. The contractor will support the online volunteer network to effectively transcribe and edit BPP records. The contractor will edit, assemble, and interpret data collections; check records for scientific and taxonomic accuracy, manage the BPP website and database, and work with researchers to access records. The contractor will perform and initiate investigative research activities in an effort to understand, model, predict and preserve various in-house and collaborative research studies in relation to the BPP data.

Technical Requirements

  • Access to Information and Data
  • Provide access to BPP data through the current BPP website
  • Maintain webpages on BPP website, transcription screen, and training materials for volunteers
  • Provide volunteers with monthly E-Newsletter with updated program information
  • Manage and Populate database
  • Complete database QA/QC to maintain high degree of data quality
  • Transcribe and verify additional datasets associated to BPP; incorporate it into the BPP database
  • Support the use of BPP data in scientific papers
  • Answer requests for data and work with scientist to understand and interpret BPP data
  • Work with collaborating scientists to prepare scientific papers for publication
  • Recruit and Manage Online and Office Participants
  • Recruit new participants through listserves, presentations, and social media
  • Provide training and guidance to online participants
  • Manage office volunteers by providing projects, training, and oversight


  • B.S. or M.S. in Ecology, Wildlife Biology, Environmental Science or
  • a related field or equivalent work experience
  • Strong data manipulation, management and QA/QC skills and attention
  • to detail
  • Good writing and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work with a diverse audiences;  experience working with
  • volunteers
  • Specific knowledge and experience in ornithology is preferred
  • Ability to work in SQL Server is preferred

Place of Performance
Data will come from existing databases and other sources.  Analysis will be
completed at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland.

If interested, please send resume and cover letter to: Jessica Zelt,

Opportunity within the NCO: 

USA-NPN highlighted in PBS's KQED blog

USA-NPN's Nature's Notebook was recently featured in a blog post from San Francisco's KQED, a member station of PBS.


Stay abreast of phenology-related funding opportunites or request a letter of support

Track phenology-friendly grants and key deadlines using the USA-NPN Funding Opportunities tool.

As appropriate, the National Coordinating Office of the USA-NPN can provide letters of support for grant proposals incorporating phenology data collection and efforts aligned with the USA-NPN Mission.

Learn about our web service allowing data entry from your website

Our web services allow participants in partners' programs to contribute data to Nature's Notebook without leaving the partner's website. A partner develops a user interface on the partner website which uses the USA-NPN web service to direct the data to the National Phenology Database. The web service offers the following functions:

Register a legacy dataset

If you would like to share an historical or contemporary phenology dataset, you can add it to our legacy dataset registry. The registry maintains a list of datasets, permissions for sharing them, and information on how to access them. These datasets are searchable by taxonomic group, phenophase, format, and other relevant identifiers. This module allows valuable historical datasets that may otherwise be lost to be archived and made available for researchers and decision-makers to access.

Learn about data management and archiving in the National Phenology Database

The USA-NPN National Phenology Database can serve as the long-term archive for phenology data collected by members of partnering organizations. Several current USA-NPN partners, including the Arbor Day Foundation, Monarch Watch, and HoneyBeeNet, are housing phenology records in the National Phenology Database.

Sign up for our periodic updates from the USA-NPN National Coordinating Office

The USA-NPN NCO provides short phenology-related updates and interesting pieces in a bi-monthly newsletter to registered participants and partner contacts. Text from these newsletters may be repurposed for inclusion in your organization's newsletters. We can also provide text on topics including "what is phenology?", "what is the USA-NPN?", and "how can I participate?"

Add plant or animal species to the USA-NPN recommended species list

We used a rigorous process to develop the criteria to select the species that appear on the list of recommended species for Nature's Notebook. However, we are constantly adding species to our lists based on special needs of participating scientists and organizations.

Feature your content on the USA-NPN USA-NPN homepage and social media

The USA-NPN features news in the field of phenology on the USA-NPN homepage. We can post links to partner announcements and phenology-related efforts here.

USA-NPN National Coordinating Office staff frequently posts to Twitter (@TheresaCrimmins,
@LoriAnneBarnett. Patrners can follow us on Twitter and the USA-NPN NCO can include short phenology- related pieces from partner organizations in these postings.

Download, visualize, and create graphics of your phenology data

Customizable phenology calendars appear right on your Observation Deck, which is your go-to place for setting up observation sites and selecting species to monitor. Calendars can be downloaded and shared with your group members.