McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Phenology Trails' data collected in Nature's Notebook will be valuable in performing ecological research through partnerships and citizen science for the long-term natural resource management of the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve while providing educational opportunities for the community and contributing to broader scientific knowledge.
Partner's Impact Statement:
One of the priority focus areas of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Parsons Field Institute is assessing the impact of urban stressors and climate change on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Establishing a long-term phenology program provided a great way to do this. The data collected is contributing to an improved understanding of how the life cycles of plants in this area are changing.
In 2016, the Field Institute embarked on a comprehensive study. With the guidance of the National Phenology Network (NPN), six plants were specifically identified as key species for observation on three trails in the Preserve. A program framework was designed, documentation put in place, Conservancy citizen scientists trained, and twice weekly observations initiated.
In the past two year a strong foundation has been established including a team of over 30 dedicated citizen scientists, extensive process documentation and over 40,000 data points collected. This positions us to further extend our program by adding pollinators, precipitation and temperature data for long-term trend analysis. Additionally, through sharing and workshops we’re helping other resource managers implement their programs.