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Pepperwood is an ecological institute dedicated to educating, engaging, and inspiring our community through habitat preservation, science-based conservation, leading-edge research, and interdisciplinary educational programs. As part of the California Phenology Project, citizen scientists at Pepperwood are collecting important phenological information that will be used to inform regional land management practices and conservation strategies under a changing climate.
2017 Impact Statement
Plant phenology is one of the most sensitive indicators of shifts in climate patterns. The importance of climate change has been highlighted by California's recent 4-year drought from 2012–2015. Climate models suggest that Northern California will become increasingly arid with an increased probability of extreme events such as drought and flooding (Flint and Flint 2012). Since 2013, citizen scientists at Pepperwood Preserve have been tracking the effects of climate on California native plant life cycles through the National Phenology Network and the California Phenology Project. Our volunteers monitor 11 species of woody shrubs and trees twice a week throughout the year. As of January 2017, we have collected over 65,000 plant phenology observations. This project provides an incredible opportunity for citizen scientist to build critical research skills, enhance their botanical knowledge and connection to plant life cycles, and gives them professional development experience analyzing data and sharing their findings at scientific conferences. Data collected by this project informs important research about how plant species are responding to climate and how these shifts may impact the local ecology.