USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Your questions, answered, amid the coronavirus pandemic

We've been receiving a lot of questions about how to manage your phenology programs during these difficult times. Here are some suggestions:

My staff/volunteers don't have access to our observation site anymore, what should we do?

We have to accept that there will be some gaps in data during this time - that is ok! If you are determined to continue to collect data, and it is safe and you are allowed to do so, here are some options:

If your Nature's Notebook site has been closed to the public, then your volunteers will not be able to make observations. Are staff still working on site? Consider having them take photos of your plants and send them to volunteers to enter the data from home, or hang onto the photos to enter at a later date.

If sites are totally inaccessible, or if you are in a location with a shelter in place order, consider whether you or your volunteers have similar species at your home. You can register these new plants or animals at a new personal site. While these are not the same individual plants, they will still contribute valuable information on your species of interest for your area. It will also help you and your volunteers keep up the habit of making observations, not to mention give you a reason to spend time outside!

What will happen to my group/data if we have to stop collecting data for the next several months?

We will maintain your group and all of its associated data in our system. We never delete data collected by Local Phenology Programs unless there is a problem with your data that you have alerted us to.

How can I keep engaging my volunteers remotely?

Check out LoriAnne's tips for moving programs online in our new LPP Forum. It might be a great time to have your observers take our Observer Certification Course , Basic Botany and Intensity Quizzes , read through and take the quizzes in our Botany Primer , or make a Phenophase Photo Guide by taking photos of plants at their homes.

Consider doing a social media campaign to have volunteers document signs of spring out their windows, or start a phenology-related book club.

Also, check out VolunteerPro's Guide for Managing Uncertainty with Volunteers.

Do you have any tips on how to juggle all this online communication?

We use Editorial Calendars to keep track of what content we want to send to different audiences, and when. The Nonprofit Marketing Guide has some great resources on how to create one.

Do you have any activities to do with my kiddos while we're stuck at home?

Yes! We have lots of activities and lesson plans on our Education page . Filter by indoor, outdoor, grade level, and more. Also check out Theresa Crimmins' recent Op-Ed in the Arizona Daily Star about doing citizen science at home during the current public health crisis.

Education Coordinator LoriAnne Barnett will offer a one hour crash course that will cover:

  • How to get a group set up in Nature's Notebook

  • How to engage participants remotely

  • Which activities and curriculum might be most relevant to your particular learning environment

  • How to move scheduled Nature's Notebook trainings online.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at 12 pm PDT / 3 pm EDT. We will post the recording on our YouTube channel .

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