Arboretum to host phenology program

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This weekend, Crosby Arboretum will host a volunteer training session called Nature’s Notebook, a national phenology program that teaches professional and citizen scientists how to recognize plant and animal life stages.

The workshop is being held in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Arboretum on Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon.

According to USA National Phenology Network, phenology refers to the study of changes in plants and animals from year to year such as flowering, leafing, hibernation, insect emergence and migration of birds and how those factors are influenced by changes in weather.

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Jennifer Buchanan, senior curator at the Crosby Arboretum, said the workshop will train current and future volunteers how to monitor the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail, which has a location at the Arboretum.

“The aim is to train volunteers on how to recognize the different stages in a plant or animal’s life, that includes recognizing whether they are blooming or fruiting and whether the plants will have leaves or not,” Buchanan said. “They will also be trained to monitor diseases in plants, because the earlier they are detected it becomes easier to control them.”

Buchanan said in relation to an animal’s life, the volunteers are trained to observe patterns in a bird’s nesting and seasonal coloration cycles.

Buchanan said that since this will be most volunteer’s initial attempt to study patterns and establish trends, Saturday’s focus will be how to study plant life.

“Enrolling for this workshop participants can learn to become citizen scientists and help observe and learn how plants are changing overtime,” Buchanan said. “They can observe nature’s calendar, go out and become engaged with trees to see how they are progressing overtime.”

Anyone interested in attending the workshop is advised to RSVP by calling the Arboretum at 601-799-2311.