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Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu. Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

Nature's Notebook - National Phenology Project

  • Organization Name
    National Phenology Network
  • Organization Website
  • Partners
    federal, state and local agencies, universities, colleges and schools, non-governmental organizations, citizen volunteers, and many others
  • Contact Name
    N / A
  • Contact Email
    N / A
  • Contact Phone
    N / A
  • Other Contact Information
  • Project Purpose (taken from project materials)

    Provide valuable observations that scientists, educators, policy makers, and resource managers are using to understand how plants and animals are responding to climate change and other environmental changes.

  • Participant Activities

    Volunteers observe both plants and animals. Observing phenology is very similar for both. However, because animals move around and plants do not, there is one important difference in the way we ask you to observe the two groups:

    For plants: Observe the same individual plants each time you visit your site. For example, you should observe the same red maple in your back yard all through the year.

    For animals: Create a checklist of animal species and look for all of them each time you visit your site. For example, if your checklist has robins, wood frogs, and tent caterpillars on it, you should record whether or not you see or hear those species anywhere in your site each time you visit.

    Follow these four simple steps to get started observing:

    1. Learn about the plants and animals you can observe: Find out which species in your area are on the list - learn more about them and the phenophases to look for.

    2.  Learn how to observe:  Learn how to select a site, select your plants and animals, and record your observations.

    3. Sign up to be an observer: Become an official participant and set your username and password. All you need is an email address and Internet access.

    4. Log in to Nature's Notebook: Now you are ready to register your site and the plants and animals you will observe, and start reporting! As you collect data during the season, log in to your account at "Nature's Notebook" and enter your observations.

  • Data Entry
    • Website
    • Data Sheets
  • Other Participant Activities

    Once they've submitted observations, volunteers can explore data on the dynamic visualization tool and check out their standings on the leaderboards.

    Volunteers can also join other NPN activites, such as "rescuing historical data" or "sharing existing data." http://www.usanpn.org/participate

  • System Studied
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Plants
    • Invertebrates
    • Climate Change
  • Geographic Scope
  • Region
    All (see 'geographic scope')
  • Location
    Any site that meets the project guidelines (see training section)
  • Location - Map
    N / A
  • Time Commitment
    • Other (see Other Information below)
  • Volunteer Qualifications

    No prior experience is necessary. 

    Volunteers must be able to upload data using a personal computer. 

    To make your phenology observations you will need the following items:

    • Phenophase definitions and instructions: Check the profile page for each of your selected plant and animal species to see the list of phenophases for those species and instructions on how to recognize them.
    • Datasheets, clipboard, pencil: You can download and print a datasheet for each of your plant or animals from the profile page for that species, or generate a personalized datasheet packet for your Nature’s Notebook Home page. More...
    • Binoculars (optional, helpful for observing animals as well as phenophases in tall trees)
    • Marking equipment for first trip: Flagging, markers, stakes, plastic tags, popsicle sticks
  • Volunteer Training

    Online training, includes information on what to look for, how to set up an observation site, how to collect and enter data, and value of phenology study: http://www.usanpn.org/participate/guidelines

    Online training is also available for use of the data visualization tools.

    Both observation and visualization trainings include video and text.

  • Cost to Participant
    N / A
  • How will the findings be used?

    Data is accessible online through a visualization tool.

    NPN publications and reports are also accessible through the organization website.

  • Other Information

    Visit your site(s) as often as possible. At least once a week is good, but several times a week or even once a day is even better during times of the year when things are changing quickly (for example, spring and fall).

  • Photo
    N / A
  • last update:
    N / A

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit/projects.