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Phenology...it's what's happening in Nature!


What is phenology? It is the study of the timing of natural events – recording the dates of significant moments in nature, such as when migrating birds return, lakes freeze and thaw, flowers bloom, sap begins flowing, wild rice ripens, etc.

Why is phenology important? Phenology not only helps us understand the interaction between wildlife, vegetation, and the surrounding environment, it can help identify any significant changes that occur over time and help assess the impacts of climate change. For example, raccoons, some bird species, wood ticks, poison ivy and other plants and animals are now being found further north than ever before!

Phenology at Fond du Lac The Fond du Lac Ojibwe School 2014-15 5th Grade class is conducting their own phenology project throughout the school year with the help of their teachers and the Environmental Education Outreach Coordinator for the Fond du Lac Environmental Program, and a Minnesota GreenCorps member working with Fond du Lac. This project began in January of the 2007-2008 school year and has been done with various classes at the Ojibwe School in subsequent years.

Students have picked a special spot of their own within a specified section of the nature trail. They will return to their same chosen spot each week and record their observations (using all senses…except taste of course, unless approved by a staff member). Students can write poems, lists, create drawings, whatever they feel like! They have also come up with symbols to represent weather conditions and describe the temperature in terms of how it feels outside as well as giving the actual numeric value.