USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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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.  

Download Nature's Notebook curriculum and training materials or request a training

Nature’s Notebook offers opportunities for place-based, hands-on learning, provides a collaborative platform for site-based educators, promotes cross-subject engagement while addressing standards of learning, and can be used to identify and answer local scientific research questions addressed by many natural resource, volunteer and gardening groups.

Download communications materials, logos, and editable sign templates

The USA-NPN offers several types of communication and outreach materials, including fact sheets, information sheets, brochures, and posters. You are welcome to modify these materials to suit your program and to include your program's logo, as appropriate.

We can also work with a partnering organization to add information on phenology, the USA NPN, and  Nature's Notebook to your materials, as appropriate.

Intervale Lowlands Preserve

Intervale Lowlands Preserve is part of the New York Phenology Project. The Preserve is using Nature's Notebook to record phenology information that they will use to inform their management decisions.

Various internships and locations with Point Blue


At Point Blue, we advance the conservation of birds, other wildlife and ecosystems through science, partnerships and outreach.

We do research, provide management guidance, lead field science training programs, and deliver science education to inspire the next generation of conservationists.
Point Blue’s 140 staff members and seasonal scientists work from the Sierra to the sea and as far away as Antarctica to reduce the negative impacts of climate change, habitat degradation, pollution and other stressors on wildlife and people, all while preparing for the changes—and challenges—ahead.

In all of our work, we take a climate-smart conservation approach, partnering with wildlife and habitat management agencies, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, private landowners, fisheries and others so that we can more effectively leverage our findings and expertise to improve the health of our planet.

Internship Opportunities with Point Blue in multiple locations



Opportunity within the NCO: 

USA-NPN's Spring Indices Featured on new Whenology website

The USA-NPN's Gridded Spring Indices, developed in partnership with Cornell University using long-term lilac data from the National Phenology Databse, are highlighted in the new website Whenology. The website uses dynamic visualizations to show how the timing of plant and animal phenology is changing.


Teachers On The Estuary Summer 2015 Workshop - Nature's Notebook

This presentation was given to teachers participating in the Teachers on the Estuary program sponsored by the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. It was part of a 4-day training designed to engage eachers in stewardship, citizen science, and the natural world. 

Thu, 06/25/2015
Number of Participants: 

SciGirls CONNECT Monthly Webinar

Title: Nature's Rhythms: Understanding seasonal and long-term changes around us through PHENOLOGY

This webinar was delivered to the SciGirls CONNECT audience and is meant to accompany the Nature's Notebook activity in the SciGirls Activity Guide for Season 3. The Nature's Notebook Episode is entitled "Flower Power".  

Tue, 06/02/2015
Number of Participants: 

“Start of Spring” among 14 indicators released by USGCRP

The US Global Change and Research Program released the first 14 indicators of climate change on Wednesday, May 5, 2015. Among these is the Start of Spring indicator, which reflects the accumulation of heat sufficient to initiate leafing and flowering in temperature-sensitive plants.


Nature's Notebook featured on PBS's SciGirls

A brand-new season of the Emmy-winning show, SciGirls, debuts on PBS KIDS and online at In six episodes, middle school girls and their mentors participate in several citizen science projects, including Nature'sNotebook! Watch the Flower Power Episode


Five dysfunctions assessment

Using the scale below, indicate how each statement applies to the your team. Please briefly evaluate the statements without over-thinking your answers.

3 = Usually               2 = Sometimes              1 = Rarely

USA-NPN Awarded the Shoemaker Award for Communication Products Excellence

The USA-NPN website has been awarded the External Communications award in the "Internet Product Category" by the US Geological Survey. The award commends the design, layout and depth of information displayed by our website. We are honored to receive this award!