Interested in becoming a citizen scientist? Love being outdoors and observing nature? Have you ever heard of phenology?
Phenology, explained simply, is the study of things appearing. We study phenology in nature by observing when we first see things every year. When the first leaf opens, when the first monarch butterfly is seen, and when the acorns start to drop don’t seem like important pieces of information by themselves, but when combined with multiple years of the same data they can become an essential piece in understanding our local ecosystems. Observation skills may be the most important skill when studying phenology and is something people, and possibly some wildlife, have been doing for as long as they have been alive.
Traditional ecological knowledge about when different animals and plants are available to harvest during the year was knowledge gained through years of observations of when things first appeared. This type of knowledge is now no longer as widely known, but there are still many people who take the time to notice those little details. Today, data associated with when wildlife first appears is tied closely to the study of how modern climates are changing.
This January we will be starting a phenology program at Humbug Marsh and we’d love to have your help! At least once a month a ranger will be leading a hike with the focus of collecting phenology data and teaching nature observations skills. As the seasons change, so will the wildlife we’ll see and learn about, so each hike will be a different experience. But once a month isn’t nearly enough data, and that’s where you come in! We will empower anyone who wants to learn how they can be a citizen scientist and how to help us collect data every time they visit the refuge!
There is no expectation for anyone interested in being a part of the Phenology Hikes to have any previous science knowledge, we’re excited to learn together along the way!
The hikes are from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and are currently scheduled for the following dates:
January 8th, February 12th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, June 4th, July 2nd, August 6th, September 3rd, October 1st, November 5th, and December 3rd. Please understand these dates may change if necessary.