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: Science Pick
Join Nature’s Notebook and Have Fun with Phenology
Falling in Love with the fall season

 

Father and son recording environmental change in front of the Shenandoah National Park

Father and son recording environmental change in front of the Shenandoah National Park

Each year we experience the joy and pleasure of watching the world change before our eyes as the seasons change. The excitement of seeing leaves change colors during the fall, as well as the flight of migratory birds, are visual signs of season changes  that people look forward to every year. These visual cues have a name: phenology.

Phenology is the study of the influence of climate on the timing of biological events and a science that occurs right in front of our eyes. We do not need microscopes or fancy labs, but each of us can have fun with phenology on our own and at the same time, help scientists understand the effects of climate on things like when birds migrate, trees bloom, or insects emerge.

The USGS recently produced a short video that shows the leaves changing colors from October 3, 2012-December 14, 2012, in Reston, VA, as well as other animations on the Phenology site.

As the Autumn Equinox approaches on September 22, why not join Nature’s Notebook and begin recording your own local phenology experiences? By joining, you can be a citizen-scientist and have your findings shared with the rest of the country!

So get out and embrace the fall and have Fun with Phenology!

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Page Last Modified: February 2, 2011