Nature’s Notebook

Connecting People with Nature to Benefit Our Changing Planet

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Create a Local Phenology Project in your community to generate local phenology enthusiasm and connect like-minded organizations!

Image credit:
LoriAnne Barnett

Local Phenology Projects

Interested in what’s happening to plant and animal populations, either on a seasonal or long-term basis? Turn your interest into a valuable collaborative community science project!

Local Phenology Projects (LPPs), or organizations which engage the community in phenology monitoring with Nature's Notebook, exist to explore bud and flower break, pollination, fruit harvest, leaf fall, and more. These projects are located at places like wildlife refuges, local and national parks, and nature centers across the country and take some effort to establish, nurture, and maintain. LPPs are a wonderful way to connect community leaders in science, research and management to community leaders in education. Anyone who hosts an official Nature's Notebook effort for a LPPs is known as Local Phenology Leader (LPL).

Regardless of whether your are responsible for research, land management, education or outreach, you will benefit from creating an LPP to meet your organization's needs. Let us know if you have questions or need help at groups@usanpn.org.


What phenology-related question do I want to answer?

In order to create a sustainble monitoring program, first decide what question you could answer with phenology data. Monitor life cycle changes of a single species (e.g. monarchs) or select multiple species (e.g. monarch and milkweed) to study community changes.

With over 1200 plant and animal species to choose from you are likely to find what you need on our species list. If you need help determining which species to monitor, consider joining a Campaign - you and your observers will receive periodic updates from our Outreach staff with preliminary findings.

The Plant and Animal List »

Join a Campaign »


Does Nature's Notebook meet my needs?

The most effective and sustainable Nature's Notebook monitoring programs are designed to meet a known goal. If Nature's Notebook can help you meet a need you will have a better chance of success. Get started by completing our Needs Assessment Form and review our Program Planning Resources designed to help you brainstorm your goals and what you need to meet them. Every effort is a little bit different!

Nature's Notebook Needs Assessment »

Nature's Notebook Program Planning Resources »


Ready to get started?

Once you've thought about your needs, goals, and resources, request a Group. A Group allows multiple Nature's Notebook observers to monitor phenology at the same shared locations on the same plants or animal species. Once your Group is set up, other members will be able to join it to have access to the sites, plants, and animals that you set up. 

Request a Nature's Notebook Group »


Start a Phenology Walk or Trail

If you live in a community where there are multiple organizations hosting Groups in Nature's Notebook, consider linking them together in a virtual Phenology Trail. Linked together, these Groups and their sites provide participants with places to visit, enjoy nature, collect data, and learn about supporting organizations. Phenology Trails are also excellent community engagement tools, designed to develop collaborative projects for organizations which can be used to answer regional science and management questions. View our Phenology Trail planning resources to help you get started.

Start a Phenology Trail »


Start a Regional Phenology Network

Develop a network of agencies interested in monitoring phenology in service of management goals, science questions, or outreach and education programming. Phenology Networks cover more ground than Phenology Trails and are ways to share meaningful programming and provide a connection with like-minded groups of volunteers and scientists.

Start a Regional Phenology Network »


Want to become a Certified Local Phenology Leader?

Certified Local Phenology Leaders are LPLs who have taken the National Coordinating Office's online LPL Certification Program. The 10-week, 50-hour course helps you to create an LPP, offers guidance in creating education, science, and management materials, and encourages participants to build Phenology Trails. Certified LPL accounts are marked in the database because they have passed the criteria for providing training to others based on the USA-NPN monitoring protocols. Courses are held twice a year, in the spring and fall. For more information, click on the link below.

Become a Certified Local Phenology Leader »

Meet our Certified Leaders »


Nature's Notebook and formal education

Using Nature's Notebook in a formal classroom connects students to real-world science, regardless if you teach primary, secondary, or higher education. Before you begin you may wish to read about our Education program and available Nature's Notebook activities and lessons. Think about engaging multiple years of students and the data that can be used from their collective efforts.  Nature's Notebook in the formal education classroom works best if students observe their own plants more than one time - a semester or year are recommended for a better learning experience and produce higher-quality data contributions. We can recommend other options for citizen science engagment if you don't have that amount of time.

Nature's Notebook Education Program »

Nature's Notebook Activities »