Columbia Land Conservancy
Conservancy News: March

Phenomenal Phenology

Have you ever kept track of when plants in your garden bloomed? The first day you heard a robin sing? The last day of hard frost? If so, you’re part of a community of phenologists!

Phenology is a complicated-sounding word that means paying attention to nature’s calendar as the seasons change. Tracking this data is a relatively simple activity that can make a big difference. Some phenology records are hundreds of years old – like this one started by naturalist Robert Marsham. Having this kind of long term data is important for scientists studying how our climate has changed over time.

Looking for local phenology data? The Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program has collected a large amount of information through their The Progress of the Seasons project. So check it out, start a journal, or join the National Phenology Network today – you never know how important your observations might be in years to come! You can also sign up to participate in a phenology project at Borden’s Pond Conservation Area this spring and fall!

The return of the red-winged blackbird is a sign of spring’s imminent arrival.

Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.

Yoko Ono

Flowers like this bloodroot are called “spring ephemerals” because of the short time they’re in bloom. High Falls and Hand Hollow Conservation Areas are great places to look for spring ephemerals later in the spring. Photo by Deobrah Balcanoff.

Celebrate the changing seasons with a phenology chart

Want to craft a memory of how the year has progressed? Create a phenology chart like the one pictured above in the video! Whether you’d like to draw, stitch, paint, or photograph, creating a phenology wheel is a great way to tune into what’s going on outside.

Each month, take notice of something that’s blooming, chirping, or exploring the trails! The sky’s the limit for how you create your chart – maybe you’d like to focus on plants, animals, or birds. Maybe you’d like to return to a specific place each month to see what speaks to you. There’s no wrong way to do this project!

If you’d like to create your chart on paper, click here to download a template.

Join in on the phenology fun – volunteer!

Are you excited about tracking the changing seasons? CLC is looking for volunteers to monitor a phenology trail at Borden’s Pond Conservation Area this spring and fall. Volunteers will use the Nature’s Notebook app (or print worksheets if you prefer) to track data about 15 plants along the Streamside Trail. Training will be provided for all volunteers. To get involved, sign up using the form below and select “Phenology Volunteer” as an option.

Put some SPRING in your step!

Need a soundtrack for gardening, watching the birds, or tiptoeing through the tulips? CLC has you covered! You can view more playlists on the Columbia Land Conservancy Spotify channel.