Dear Friends,
As the newly appointed Coordinator for the Rio Grande Phenology Trail, I am already blown away by the wonderful work you have been conducting. Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, which spearheaded this effort, continues to serve as a strong guidepost for existing and new Trail partners.  From the incredible student outreach of Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve to the beautifully organized team at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens, I am honored to be a part of this inspiring community.

As phenologists, we are all aware of the importance of connectivity in the ecosystem. This important concept, illustrated so beautifully in nature, extends to our everyday lives and to the work we engage in to protect what we hold so dear. By fostering our connection to each other and to the organisms we so diligently observe, we become better able to truly blossom in our contribution to conservation.

I hope this bi-monthly newsletter for Rio Grande Phenology Trail members will serve as a tool to bring us together, provide support, and share new ideas. If you prefer not to be included in this mailing, please click on the link at the bottom of this page to opt out.

Best regards and happy observing,

In this section, we will highlight the work being conducted and the discoveries being made by the wonderful partners of our Rio Grande Phenology Trail.
For example, the dedicated team at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens is comprised of four volunteers who make regular weekly observations of their four sites using the Nature's Notebook mobile app. Their focal species include Rio Grande cottonwood (Populus deltoides spp. wislizeni); golden currant (Ribes aureum); Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila); fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens);tree cholla (Opuntia imbricata); and rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa).
Using their own data and USA-NPN visualization tools, volunteer Karl Horak created a visually pleasing, informational poster to compare the leaf emergence of three cottonwoods over a two-year period.

In this section, we will explore ways in which to hone our skills as scientific observers. For example, data collection is where science begins, but it is of no significance unless the information has been analyzed and shared with others. The USA-NPN data visualization tool makes it easier to do just that! Curious to see how your observations compare to those in your region? How about to previous years? Check out this webinar to build your data-visualization toolbox!


We will use this section to link ourselves to the larger task at hand; one in which we all have a part.

The Earth’s climate is changing at an unprecedented rate. Given current trends, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report projects complete loss of Arctic ice by as early as 2050. Global mean surface air temperatures have increased between 0.4°C and 0.8°C since the late nineteenth century. The majority of this increase has occurred since 1976 and appears to be inextricably linked with anthropogenic activity.

The current rapidity of global climate change is incompatible with the average rate at which most species adapt. Evidence suggests that many species are responding through changes in physiology and phenology, as well as notable shifts in distribution.

In today's world, it's clear that our natural environment cannot be preserved and protected by the few people officially designated with this task. It will take all of us, in all parts of the world. We all need to find ways to help in this monumental task.

Citizen science  offers each of us a path to find special ways in which we can each help protect our part of the world. It's an elegant, efficient, and engaging solution to the huge environmental problems we face in the 21st century.

As part of our quest for connectivity, we hope to hold regular gatherings for local phenology leaders. Stay tuned for information and scheduling of quarterly check-in meetings,  potlucks, photo sharing events, etc.!

On Saturday November 14th, Valle de Oro will be holding their monthly open house. The theme this month is Music and Migration! Come join us for live music and tour of the refuge. Don't forget to bring a donation for our coat drive!




Jessica Allen
RGPT Trail Coordinator