Nature’s Notebook

Connecting People with Nature to Benefit Our Changing Planet

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Educators around the country are developing materials to use with Nature's Notebook.

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Brian Powell

Nature's Notebook Activities

Explore Nature's Notebook materials created by the National Coordinating Office Staff and partners.

Title Description
2017 UArizona Insect Festival Tabling Materials

At the 2017 University of Arizona Insect festival the Nature's Notebook Education team presented several activities having to do with insect phenology. 

Three excellent resources we used were the books:

  • Insectigations- 40 Hands-on Activities to explore the insect world by Cindy Blobaum
  • Take-Along Guide: Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies by Mel Boring
  • The Life-cycles of Butterflies: From egg to maturity, a visual guide to 23 common garden butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

The files above are scanned pages from each of those books. Activites described below:

1. We purchased crickets at a local exotic pet store (and after the event donated them to a critter keeper who feeds crickets to his pets). We created the Insect Amplifier (as shown in example #1a above) and asked the students to count the chirps to determine the ambient temperture (as described on example #1 above). They were asked to record their data on a sheet at the table and as the day got warmer, the chirps became more abundant. We talked about the timing of their chirps, what chirps are used for, and how it is related to the surrounding environment. When during the year do crickets chirp?

2. We collected several tomato hornworms and queen butterflies from the garden, in various stages, and had magnifying glasses on hand for students to look at each up close. We also had print outs of life cycles of these species from the Life-cycles of butterflies book referenced above

3. We used our simple data sheets and students were able to go outside to a marked plant and collect observations using Nature's Notebook. If they returned their data sheet to us with correct answers, they were given a Nature's Notebook pencil. 

4. We had a phenology bingo game available for students where they could review the phenological events present on the bingo card and put a stamp next to the ones they had experienced. #3 above includes a sample of the bingo card and the full Phenology Bingo lesson can be found on our website, here

5. We created a series of What am I cards and used them as a matching game. #4 above includes a sample of two of the cards. On the reverse side is a photo of the plant with the common and scientific name below. Students can either guess what the answer to the question is or use them as a matching game to match the picture to the definition. 

Program Mapping Worksheet

Need help mapping out your ideas, outcomes, and objectives for your long-term Nature's Notebook monitoring program? Use our Program Mapping Worksheet as a guide.

USA-NPN Media Release Form

Hosting an event or workshop and want to share some photos of the event with us? Be sure to complete the USA-NPN Media Release Form with your photo or video subjects. Even if you are asking folks to complete a Media Release Form for your organization, you'll still need to ask them to sign our form as well so we can post smiling faces on our website. 

If your event and photos involve youth under the age of 18, be sure to get a parent or guardian's signature on the form. 

Nature's Notebook Lesson Plan Template and Example

Create your own lesson for K-12 or Higher Education. Utilize the 5E Lesson Planning methodology to enhance student learning. Above you will find a link to an NCO lesson plan as well as a template you can use to create your own activity. Use Nature's Notebook as a framework for your lesson. 

USA-NPN Poster Template

If you need to present a professional poster about Nature's Notebook, you can use this template designed by our NCO staff for your work. 

Phenology Walk or Trail Worksheet

This Guide should be used when developing a Walk or Trail at a Group site. It provides a place to document what you will do and is sharable with stakeholders who may be interested in the project. 

Use this Planning Guide with the Phenology Walk and Trail Guide

Nature's Notebook Program Planning Activity

Before you begin your program planning activity, read through our guidance document to get some ideas for developing program goals and outcomes. 

The Program Planning worksheet helps you to begin planning a long-term phenology monitoring program using Nature's Notebook in the field. A "program" is a series of activities designed to help you achieve a set of outcomes. You can include ideas for short (1 year or less), medium (1-3 years), or long (3-5 years or more) goals and desired outcomes. 

You may also wish to use this worksheet to help think through a relevant science or management question that your program will help to answer. 

What are the resources you have and what do you need to obtain in order to do the activities you'd like to do? How are you going to share this information with your community and involve as many people in the process to make it sustainable? 

We also offer this planning document in Spanish if you are working with Spanish audiences. 

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-003-C; 2014-007-CSP

 

Nature's Notebook Program Action Planning Template

If you are a Local Phenology Leader with a monitoring program and want to keep track of the activities and outcomes for your project on an annual or long-term basis, consider using this Action Planning Template to document your tasks and track their progress. 

This template works especially well if you are working with groups of volunteers OR if you are a Phenology Trail Leader trying to manage the work at multiple sites in your community. We suggest hosting regularly scheduled meetings - quarterly or monthly - with selected site leads who are willing and able to record their work for you on this planning guide. That way you can manage the needs and outcomes of everyone involved. For help with implementation of this process email education@usanpn.org

Logic Model Worksheet

Logic Models help you plan and execute a program and provide a framework for evaluating your success. Before you begin a Nature's Notebook Phenology Monitoring Program, consider doing a Needs Assessment to determine if a Nature's Notebook is something that will be useful to you. Once you've completed that process, you can begin to plan your program using one of our Program Planning Worksheets. Finally, once your plan is drafted, you can create for yourself measurable goals that can be tracked and shared with all of your stakeholders and funders. 

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-001-C

Needs Assessment Worksheet

Needs assessments are an important element of developing a site-based long-term phenology monitoring program. Thinking through the reasons you wish to utilize Nature’s Notebook for natural resource management, scientific, or educational purposes will help you to develop something sustainable. Even better would be to identify researchers, land managers, educators, or outreach providers in your community to collaborate on a monitoring program. If you are a researcher or land manager, reach out to educators who can help you recruit and train people to collect the data you need to answer your questions and make better decisions. If you are an educator, find a researcher or land manager who may find data you collect with your participants of value. 

For more information about the process and to share your form with the National Coordinating Staff, visit the Needs Assessment webpage

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-002-C

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