To encourage Minnesotans to monitor phenology, share their observations, and use phenology to increase environmental awareness and education. Further, we strive to increase data collection using robust protocols to understand the impact climate change has on the diverse ecosystems of Minnesota.
What is phenology?
Phenology is the observation and data collection of the timing of biological events as they relate to climate. Events such as flowering, bird migration, bug hatches, and fish spawning are all phenophases encompassed in the field of phenology. As you can imagine, phenology changes when the climate changes. Therefore, today more than ever is the best time to become a citizen phenologist.
What is a Phenologist?
“From the beginnings of history, people have searched for order and meaning in these events, but only a few have discovered that keeping records enhances the pleasure of the search, and also the chance of finding order and meaning. These few are called phenologists.” – Aldo Leopold (1947)
The History of the Minnesota Phenology Network?
The Minnesota Phenology Network (MnPN) was formed in 2010, by a group of interested naturalist throughout the State. The goal of this group was to gather known Minnesota phenologists and share stories and enthusiasms for the field. Later, we realized that there is a lot of interest for Minnesota phenology from the scientific and education communities. The group then grew into a network of engaged citizens actively promoting the science around the state. We now encourage the use of standardize observation protocols developed by the USA-National Phenology Network (USA-NPN). Why you may ask?? Simply put, more observers yield more data, and more data lead to better science. Furthermore, there is a special connection that phenologist have with the environment and we believe that enhancing environmental awareness and education benefits the entire state of Minnesota.
Why is phenology data important?
On top of it being fun to make observations and compare your observations overtime, it is really important for natural resource managers and scientists to use your data to accurately quantify how our natural environment responds to climate change. You can help scientists understand climate change!
We sincerely hope you start making phonological observations, not just for the data but also because it will bring you closer to YOUR natural environment. Please familiarize yourself with Minnesota’s top 7 species on this website and start a Natures Notebook account to initiate your data collection.