OMSI is here to help support your students' distance learning. We’ve expanded our Science at Home content to include curated weekly STEAM activities and resources!
Week 30: Phenology
In our last week of Science at Home, explore phenology and the many ways you can continue to engage as a citizen scientist!
Monday: Science Reading
We all have an idea of when spring begins, but what if that timing is changing? Phenology is the study of nature's clock—when certain seasonal changes and events occur throughout the year. Phenology helps us understand plant and animal life cycles, especially how they react to changes in global climate.
Oregon is home to the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, where long-term phenology data has been collected since 1948. Find out more about the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest.
- Have you noticed any pheonologic changes over your lifetime?
- Why is it important to understand how plants and animals react to changes in climate?
- How can phenology help farmers?
Tuesday: DIY Activity
You can be a phenologist in your own outdoor space! Record your daily observations in a flipbook to make your science come alive in animation.
Wednesday: Career Connection
Studying decades of phenology data
Determining how seasons and climates shift takes a lot of time! Check in with Oregon State University graduate student Sarah Ward about the phenology study she is conducting at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest.
Want to help climate researchers at HJ Andrews Experimental Forest? Join Oregon Season Tracker and observe plant phenology and precipitation from your home or neighborhood natural area.
Questions to think about:
- Is phenology data helpful in understanding changes in climate if it is only collected one time?
- What are three ways that you would record phenology data (such as numbers)?
- Why is long-term data important?
Thursday: Observation Journaling
Observe Seasonal Changes
You can be a season tracker! All you need is an obervation location and the ability to return to it several times.
- Grab paper and something to write with.
- Select an observation station in your backyard or local park.
- Make observations of the plants, animals, and weather that you can see from your observation station.
- Observations can include words, descriptions, dates, numbers, maps, and/or drawings.
- Return to your observation station location several times and repeat your observations.
Questions to think about:
- How could you tell when seasons changed?
- What observations surprised you?
- How would your observations be helpful for phenologists and climate researchers?
- Are there observations you wish you would have made?
Friday: Design Challenge
Design a summer of citizen science
Scientists studying phenology often ask for citizen scientists like you to help them collect data. By noting when a flower blooms in your neighborhood and reporting your observation, you could be helping a scientist understand climate change!
Citizen science doesn't only exist in the field of phenology. There are many ways to collect real data to help research projects across many fields. If you want to get involved in a citizen science project, now is a great time to design a plan.
Make sure to consider:
- What background knowledge do you need to be successful?
- Have you learned the appropriate data collection protocols?
- How much time do you need to collect data?
- Do you need any special tools?
- What citizen science projects are you most excited about?
- Why is citizen science important?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of using citizen science data in scientific research?