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Phenology: Tracking Minnesota’s ever-changing forests

Emerging bur oak leaves. Click for a larger version.

To everything there is a season. From deciding when to spray mosquitoes, trim trees, plant corn or apply fertilizer to deciding where to go to fish for trout, see spring wildflowers or fall colors – timing is everything. Phenology, the timing of seasonal biological events like leafing, blossom dates, migration, insect emergence or fish spawning, is critical to understanding interactions among species (e.g. plant-pollinator, predator-prey); determines growing season length for plants; and affects human health (e.g. pollen, tick, mosquito season). The timing of seasonal biological events is a critical ecological process that ensures the health, productivity and integrity of our natural resources.

Keeping your own phenology records can be not only informative and rewarding, but also helpful to researchers interested in tracking phenological patterns and changes in Minnesota.  And it can be a great way to engage family members, particularly kids, in observing nature in your woodland or other natural spaces.

Summer 2013 workshops:

UMN Extension and the Minnesota Master Naturalist program are offering a new workshop on how to observe and report seasonal changes in  Minnesota. The workshop will address the 7 focus species for observation in Minnesota with hands-on monitoring and online reporting.  Instructors at both sessions are Eli Sagor and Stephan Carlson with the University of Minnesota Extension.  We’d love to have you join us!

Workshop dates and locations:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013: UMN Saint Paul Campus  

Saturday, August 17, 2013: Cloquet Forestry Center

Photos from the workshops:

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Phenology: Tracking Minnesota’s ever changing forests

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Phenology is the  study of periodic biological phenomena, such as flowering, breeding, and migration, in relation to climatic conditions.  In other words, it’s all about noticing, and keeping track of, the changes in your woods.  (Many Minnesota woodland owners hear John Latimer or Larry Weber’s phenology radio shows every week.)  We’ll discuss the importance and value of good phenology data to not only sound woodland care and management, but also research.

Click here to watch the recording (April 2012).

The instructor is Rebecca Montgomery, an Associate Professor with the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources.

More Minnesota phenology links:

 

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