If you’ve lived in New England for any length of time, you have most likely noticed the cyclical patterns of certain animals and plants. The changing color of leaves from green to various reds means the coming of colder temperatures winter. The arrival of warblers and the ruby-throated humming bird means spring has arrived. Phenology is the study of these seasonal changes and the timing that these changes take place.

A variety of organisms depend on the consistency of these cyclical patterns. A shift in seasonal timing could be detrimental for certain species. Apple tree blossoms that flower too early due to a warm spring may die before pollinators have even hatched. This would put a large dent in the apple crop for that year.

For centuries humans have been recording seasonal observations. Scientists compile and use these observations to construct long-term phenology trends. One of the most important findings is that more recent shifts in these trends correlate with the Earth’s increasing air temperature. This spring Tin Mountain will begin monitoring the phenology of animal and plant species in the Rockwell Sanctuary. In order to collect consistent data, we need the help of citizen scientists like you! Sign up for this Adult Nature Course to learn the basics of phenology and see how easy it is to can collect phenology data. Please register ahead of time by emailing sfrankel@tinmountain.org or calling 603-447-6991.