Phenology is the study of when specific events happen in nature from year to year in a certain place. Anyone can become a phenologist, just by observing seasonal events near their home or favorite places!
There are a several ways you can become a phenologist!
Contribute to the Northwoods Phenology Project on iNaturalist
- iNaturalist is a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that anyone could use to learn more about nature. Learn more about iNaturalist here.
- Record observations of plants and animals, and view the observations of others.
- Get professional help in identifying your photos.
- Contribute to a global database with scientific value.
- Upload your photos to your iNaturalist account, make observations, and then add them to the “Cable Natural History Museum Northwoods Phenology Project.”
- Explore the Project to view others’ observations, too!
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help getting started!
iNaturalist is in the news!
Explore a Virtual Phenology Hike on the Forest Lodge Nature Trail!
- Museum Naturalist Emily Stone has been hiking the Forest Lodge Nature Trail in all seasons.
- Preview the trail before you go for a hike so you know what to expect!
- View the photos from her virtual hike and see what’s out there from the comfort of your home.
Start a Phenology Journal!
- Nature’s Calendar Phenology Journals, designed by Museum Naturalists, are available for sale by print-on-demand at lulu.com. These “5-year diary” type journals have one page per day of the year, and are especially handy for looking back at old records. You can use any old notebook, as long as you keep it handy and organized.
- You could make notes each day about the weather, activities of animals and plants, and your own seasonal activities. Take especial care to note when plants start growing or blooming, when birds return, and other seasonal events.
- OR you could just take notes about the “firsts” and “lasts” of certain species and other events. For example, you might write down when the crocuses bloom, the hummingbird returns, or the lake freezes over completely.
- Then, compare the similarities and differences in when events occur from year to year.
- Wisconsin conservationist, Aldo Leopold, kept a phenology journal. Learn more about it from the Leopold Foundation.
Contribute to a national phenology project!
- Pick a particular plant and track it through the year.
- Visit budburst.org to get involved.