USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Gulf Coast Phenology Trail

This LPP is working with K-16 students: 
More than 30 students: 
Under-served Communities: 
Involves indigenous communities: 
This LPP is part of a Phenology Trail: 
Personal Site Network: 
First Observation Date: 
January, 2017

2018 Impact Statement

The Gulf Coast Phenology Trail was established in 2017 to have citizen scientists observe and record phenophases in red maple, red bay, yaupon holly, and wax myrtle plants using the program, Nature's Notebook. Initially the four core plants were selected to learn if there is a east-west gradient in plants based on the seasons. The inventory of plants and animals were increased depending on the site.
Sites selected for the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail included primarily federal lands along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and areas in southeastern Louisiana. Using an established monitoring program such as Nature's Notebook made it easy to implement with the assistance of staff and recruited citizen scientists. Networking with Master Naturalists, Master Gardners, or Habitat Stewards helped with the recruitment and training for volunteers who needed to provide pay-back hours. The pool of potential volunteers was enlarged to include students, interns, and the interested public. Networking, one-on-one recruitment, advertisements, social media were used to increase participation.
Adding additional partners such as a community college and universities affiliated sites increased the "inventory" of core plants and the number of staff, students, and volunteer participants. Providing training classes for the interested public increased their knowledge of phenology and climate change. Students spent time out of the classroom to observe and work together in teams. Volunteers who regularly monitored "their" plants have learned about the life cycles and made connections that increased their knowledge of native plants. Anecdotally, participants stated that they look at plants with a new set of eyes and they look forward to changes or phenophases. Managers of sites wanted to know how they can share information about the program and have requested talks or written information.