Contribute to the Minnesota Phenology Network as a citizen scientist

The Minnesota Phenology Network is a statewide community of citizen scientists, educators, naturalists, and researchers who are working to understand how the recurring events in the life cycle of plants and animals are impacted by patterns of climate and seasonality. Phenology is a key component of life on earth. Many birds time their nesting so that eggs hatch when insects are available to feed nestlings. In turn, insect emergence is often synchronized with leafing out in their host plants. For many people, allergy season starts when particular flowers bloom—earlier flowering means earlier allergies. Farmers and gardeners need to know when to plant to avoid frosts, and they need to know the schedule of plant and insect development to decide when to apply fertilizers and pesticides.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota helped found the Minnesota Phenology Network in 2010 to encourage Minnesotans to monitor phenology, share their observations, and increase environmental awareness and education. Knowing that more observers yield more data, and more data lead to better science, the founders of the group were inspired to create a network of engaged citizen scientists from all walks of life to become more engaged with their phenology in their own communities. Using standardized yet simple observation methods developed by the USA-National Phenology Network, these citizen scientists have contributed hundreds of observations over the years. As the number the observations grows, so does their impact. 

The Network is looking to connect with University alumni, faculty, staff, and community members who are interested in participating and deepening their connection with the natural world. If you are interested in collecting phenology data on the species in your yard, a nearby park, or a natural area or attending one of the Minnesota Phenology Network’s workshops you can learn more on the website to get involved.