Aug 20th, 2020

Alec Garfield Becomes a Certified Local Phenology Leader

Junior biology major and Natural Science Fellow Alec Garfield completed training in Spring 2020 to become a certified Local Phenology Leader through Nature’s Notebook. Alec is currently working with faculty mentor Dr. Niky Hughes (Associate Professor of Biology) to establish the Mariana Qubein Botanical Garden and Arboretum as an official monitoring site within the National Phenology Network.

Phenology is the timing of seasonal events, and includes the timing of bud burst, flowering, and leaf senescence in trees, as well as the seasonal arrival or emergence of insects and birds. The National Phenology Network is a scientific monitoring organization that exists to collect, store, and share data about the timing of seasonal events, so that we can better understand the changing ecology of a warmer world. The National Phenology Network has partnered with Nature’s Notebook (a citizen science platform) to gather data from a variety of locations, where observers submit regular observations for designated tree species.

Specific objectives which Alec and Dr. Hughes hope to complete over the next two years include:

  1. Identifying tree species on campus that are part of the NPN and creating a “Pheno-trail”- a continuous path one may walk to visit all trees in the monitoring program
  2. Setting up a “Pheno Cam” to take pictures of the trees on campus (from a rooftop) throughout the year and upload to the phenology network
  3. Creating lab activities for students in Environmental Science, General Botany, Intro to Ecology, Evolution & Biodiversity, Global Change Ecology, etc.
  4. Holding workshops for students and faculty in the HPU School of Education, so that they can begin to incorporate Nature’s Notebook in their current and future classrooms
  5. Designing activities, signs, and/or handouts for campus visitors to educate them on phenophases and the influence of climate change on local species.
  6. Collaborating with other Nature’s Notebook field campaigns, such as the cloned lilac and dogwood projects.