You are here

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

Image credit:
Brian Powell

Nature's Notebook Activities

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

If you are encountering barriers in accessing content on our site, please contact

Title Description
The many uses of your Nature's Notebook data

This set of slides was used in our webinar, The many uses of your Nature's Notebook data, on February 23, 2021. The video recording is available at 

The presentation covers a diversity of ways that Nature's Notebook are being used by scientists, natural resource managers, educators, the media. These slides may be used to communicate the value of the data submitted to Nature's Notebook

Visualization Tool Step By Step Instructions

Use this guide to help walk you through the steps for using the visualization tool. 

Visualization Tool Step By Step Instructions

Use this guide to help walk you through the steps for using the visualization tool. 

Phenology Activities in the Red Butte Garden - by Christine Melvin

For the 3rd Grade Field Trip, students will be led on a two-hour hike in the Red Butte Garden Natural Area.  During the hike, students will engage in the practice of collecting data within Nature’s Notebook citizen science database. Between recording Nature’s Notebook data, students will be participating in four different hands-on learning activities that focus on one change in a plant or animal’s life cycle (birth, growth, reproduction, and death). Each hands-on stop will also give a closer glimpse of a phenophase stage that the students may witness throughout their field trip.

Each hands-on activity is geared to try to practice “Phenology” the science of showing or appearing.

Spring Activity Guide by Indiana Phenology

An appreciation of nature and an understanding of environmental issues help children become responsible world citizens. This curriculum provides upper elementary-aged children with the opportunity to explore environmental issues through the lens of phenology, which is the study of the recurring, seasonal rhythms in nature. In addition to engaging crafts and activities, students have the opportunity to be scientists as they participate in Indiana Phenology’s Schoolyard Phenology observation program by observing and documenting the spring awakening of plants on school grounds during the course of the 10-week curriculum. Each week there is a 1-2 hour lesson available.

Exploring Phenology Data in the Classroom: Plant Phenology Data and Citizen Science

This activity was designed by Jessica Savage (at University of Minnesota) and Erin O'Connell (at the University of Minnesota), with input from Blake Steiner (University of Arizona, School of Natural Resources) and Claire O'Neill (Earthwise Aware). It guides students through the use of the USA-NPN Visualization Tool to summarize phenology data.

Activity learning outcomes:

  1. Develop and test hypotheses about the relationship between phenology and climatic conditions using the NPN visualization tools that develop graphs and models.
  2. Examine what phenological data can tell us about climate change
  3. Analyze data from a large, long-term data set on phenology
Driven to Discover Citizen Science Curriculum Guide: Phenology and Nature's Notebook

This curriculum series supports student engagement in ecology-based citizen science and science practices: asking questions and defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, and communicating findings. The citizen science projects provide a natural springboard to these practices and also connect students to real-world research.

This implementation guide is designed to provide context and activities related to collecting observations on deciduous trees in temperate forestes using Nature's Notebook protocols. It includes four content areas: Building science skills; Contributing to citizen science; and Conducting independent investigations. There are options for a condensed version and extended version, covering the span of an academic year.

View the companion video to the curriculum here:


It is also linked on the USA-NPN NCO YouTube Channel, Videos created by our Partners PlayList.

The guide was produces by a team of authors at University of Minnesota Extension. 

Suggested Citation
Thompson, Ami; Strauss, Andrea L.; Oberhauser, Karen S.; Kooman, Michele H.; Montgomery, Rebecca; Andicoechea, Jonathan; Blair, Robert B.. (2018). Driven to Discover Citizen Science Curriculum Guide: Phenology and Nature's Notebook. University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Local Phenology Program Sustainability Plan

The purpose of this Nature’s Notebook Sustainability Plan is to provide documentation of your Local Phenology Program that can be shared with stakeholders, coworkers, or volunteers. This can be a valuable document in the event that you and other founding Leaders are no longer able to work on Nature's Notebook for your organization. Designed outcomes, a list of partnering groups, potential funders, and information about the Local Phenology Program in Nature’s Notebook can help ensure the program’s sustainability in the event of staff or volunteer turnover.

Examples of Submitted Local Phenology Leader Annual Reports

Local Phenology Leaders using Nature's Notebook for engaging students, volunteers, and community partners are able to use resources available from the USA-NPN to create annual reports for their stakeholders.

The Visualization Tool and Phenology Program Dashboards are useful resources available for summarizing phenology observational records, numbers of observers, numbers of observations made, and more.

Read an example report from a Local Phenology Program at the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and an example from the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail (an aggregation of multiple Local Phenology Programs) for ideas on what you might include in your annual report.

Don't forget the National Coordinating Office conducts an annual Active Group evaluation as well - share your annual reports and impact statement with us!

Local Phenology Program Planning & Evaluation Resources

Local Phenology Program Planning Guide

This resource guide describes how to develop a program plan for monitoring phenology with groups of people. It walks you through the steps to creating a long-term phenology monitoring program for Nature's Notebook, with education, research, management, or all three as an overarching objective. It also includes a checklist on page 13 detailing the succesful elements of a Local Phenology Program designed for sustainability.

Guidance document for developing Nature's Notebook Outcomes and Objectives

Includes details about how to draft and write sound program outcome statements, objectives, and developing a logic model.

Needs Assessment Worksheet

Before you embark on designing any type of long-term phenology monitoring program consider doing a needs assessment to decide what "need" something like a Nature's Notebook might fill. The first link above is a simple needs assessment form which can be used to determine your first steps in program development. You can also share your information with the National Coordinating Office staff by completing the web form linked from that page.

Nature's Notebook Program Planning Activity

Before you dive into writing up a Program Plan for your long-term Nature's Notebook phenology monitoring program, consider using this worksheet to help you think about short, medium, and long-term measurable outcomes. You also may wish to document some of the information you've gathered from your Needs Assessment Form if you've got stakeholders and resources now available to you. If you've decided upon your needs, decided how Nature's Notebook can help you meet those needs and the resources you have available, then you can work backward to determine what specifically you need to do to get you there.

We also offer a planning worksheet in Spanish if you are working with Spanish speaking audiences.

Program Mapping Worksheet

This worksheet will help you think more specifically about the objectives and action steps you need to do to achieve your stated short, medium, or long-term outcomes for your program. Use this to help you better articulate the Short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes and objectives after working through the Program Planning Activity Worksheet.

Logic Model Worksheet

If you'd like to use a more traditional planning template, check our our Logic Model Worksheet for documenting measurable outcomes.

For more information on Program Planning and Evaluation visit the following helpful websites:

Action Planning Template

How are you going to get from point A to point B? This template helps you to document the steps you are taking (your objectives and activities) and provides a place to record what resources you need for each, who is responsible for completing activities and tasks, and documentation for when it is complete.

Sustainability Plan

We also offer a Sustainability Plan where you may wish to document aspects of your LPP in the event that you leave your position and someone else must take over the Program.

Needs Assessment Worksheet: USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-002-C

Program Planning Guide: USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2014-007-C (2014-007-CSP - Spanish)

Logic Model Worksheet: USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-001-C