USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Observing phenology allows you to connect with the natural world around you.

Image credit:
Brian F. Powell

Volunteer Scientists

The USA-NPN invites volunteer scientists to track the phenology of plants and animals through Nature's Notebook, an online plant and animal phenology monitoring program. By participating in phenology monitoring, you will develop a better understanding of nature, contribute to a national database used by scientists and resource managers, and have a lot of fun along the way! 

Resources Available to Volunteer Scientists

The USA-NPN provides a complete set of training resources for how to use Nature's Notebook, tools to visualize data, and rewards for observers, including: 

Examples of Volunteer Scientists

Our Nature's Notebook observers find phenology monitoring to be incredibly rewarding: 

Cathie Bird finds being outdoors healing and inspiring. She goes outside nearly everyday to see what other species are up to, and after she heard about Nature’s Notebook, she decided to record what she observes for the benefit of science. She feels “being an observer has connected me even more deeply with life in my neighborhood” and has “enriched my lifelong commitment to cultivate a deeper relationship with Earth.”

Chris Nielsen started using Nature’s Notebook to observe native plants in the Northwest several years ago. Chris not only monitors plants at his home, but also at the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden in Shoreline, WA. What does Chris recommend for getting started with Nature’s Notebook? Don’t take on too many plants! Start out with just a few and stick with them over the years.