Here it is mid-February, and my office window has been open this whole week. These unseasonably warm days do not seem "normal" to me. However, since I have not been documenting these "first signs of spring" as part of the National Phenology Network's incredible phenology tracking project, I cannot use data to back up my claim that spring is arriving early!
In actuality, I would not document and report when I first open my office window each year. However, most of us do make general observations regarding spring's arrival- when the first crocus blooms, the first monarch sighting, when we first hear bullfrogs, when apple trees or lilacs bloom, or even when allergy season starts. So, why not take a few minutes to report what you and your students observe in your garden each spring, and contribute to an extremely important scientific database? If you need more of a focus, USA-NPN has a specific campaign- Nectar Connectors- to obtain data on pollinator plants. Knowing when and where nectar sources are available for monarchs and other important pollinators across the country is vital in driving conservation-related policy.
The USA National Phenology Network serves science and society by promoting broad understanding of plant and animal phenology and its relationship with environmental change.Nature's Notebook is the USA-PNP project to connect people with nature to benefit our changing planet. Teachers, students, researchers, and volunteers collect and report standardized ground observations of phenology. To participate in this important scientific research, click on the link above. Setting up an account is super easy, as is reporting your data. There's even an app for quick reporting while in the field! And don't forget to share your experiences in our forum, the backbone of this Monarch Waystation Network!