Launching Nature’s Timekeepers – Citizen Science from the bottom up

BLOOME Award Update:

We had a wonderful last couple of months trying to get our project up and running. We have made some exciting connections with local community leaders and citizen scientists. We are going to talk about our project at the Minnesota Phenology Network Annual Meeting this weekend. Right now we have a simple website and a Facebook page to help recruit interested people and give them information on our project and events.

We held our first event on October 10th, 2018, which was a workshop to learn about plant phenology and how to use the Nature’s Notebook interface. We are in the process of organizing focus groups that will help design our phenology walks, pick our study species, and figure out the questions that everyone wants to explore. These will then inform our efforts as we design phenology stations and our website. We have encountered a great deal of support, and people are excited to help design a project that they can have ownership of!

The fall was very productive for us in terms of getting connected with the community. We organized two focus groups with local volunteers/citizen scientists and got together ideas for how to execute and organize our phenology trails. We also met with city employees to talk about setting up a station downtown.

Our other big accomplishments have been with our activity and curriculum development. We did a trial run of one of our modules in a college class this semester and it was well-received. We have also connected with other environmental educators who are also interested in developing a curriculum on plant phenology using the same online database. They are a great sounding board for ideas and are willing to provide us feedback on our material.

Our hope is to have things ready to launch everything next spring. Our signs may not get in until the summer but we hope to have our trails set up and our website up and running.

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