Sonoran Seasonal

Highlights from the Tucson Phenology Trail

Welcome to the Sonoran Seasonal 
The quarterly newsletter for the Tucson Phenology Trail 

Thank you so much for your interest in this local phenology monitoring project! Wonderful things are happening along our Tucson Phenology Trail, and this newsletter serves as a way to connect you to programming and partners doing phenology monitoring with the Nature's Notebook ( professional and citizen science program. Phenology is the study of recurring life cycle events in plants and animals and their relationship to the environment. It is a key indicator of climate change. 

This quarterly newslet
ter shares observation highlights from 20 participating sites across the Tucson area AND is meant to generate interest in collecting regularly scheduled, long-term observations to develop a deeper understanding of seasonality in our desert.

If you need a refresher on what we are doing, please feel free to visit our Tucson Phenology Trail landing page (
tucson-phenology-trail). Stay tuned for workshops in 2016. I'm excited to be documenting, for science, the seasonal events experiences by our unique plants and animals in the Sonoran Desert.

Happy observing and Happy Holidays!

LoriAnne Barnett
Education Coordinator & Local Phenology Leader, USA-NPN

Trail Tales

2015 PhenoWeek, a success!

2015 marked the 3rd Annual PhenoWeek Celebration in Tucson. PhenoWeek was established to showcase the efforts of our partners in phenology monitoring and invite members of our community to join us to learn more about phenology, seasonal change, and the research conducted on the plants and animals in our area. 

This year's PhenoWeek theme was Kids in Bloom: Observing Nature, Big and Small. We welcomed 2 new schools to our monitoring program, Sam Hughes Elementary School and Mansfeld Middle School. Both schools will be using phenology to teach science, math, history, cultural studies, and technology in the classroom. Check out the Tucson Phenology Trail webpage for more information! 

Our impact: Eleven events, four new observation locations, 89 adults and 184 youth participated in events during the week. A handful of observers returned for a second year! Plan on visiting one or more of the observation locations throughout the year to make observations on the plants and animals selected for monitoring!

Inspiring Observations           

Candy barrelcactus or Fishhook barrel cactus 
(Ferocactus wislizeni
in bloom.
Image credit: L. Barnett.
Photo taken 9/18/15. Ferocactus wislizeni typically bloom in the Sonoran Desert between July and September.
Submit your seasonal phenology photos to or post on our Facebook page. Tag a photo on instagram with #TucsonPhenologyTrail.

The Big Picture

What are your data telling us, locally?

We've been collecting phenology observations for three years via our Tucson Phenology Trail. When the trail was originally envisioned, we developed it as a community engagement tool to provide a program for like-minded organizations and educational groups to collectively contribute to a research project. We elected to begin data collection on a number of native and frequently occurring species across the Tucson basin, hoping to provide more information about the phenology of our region. 

Since the Tucson Phenology has begun, we've amassed over 80,000 records of seasonal change. Now that your data are readil
y available, researchers are interested in learning more about the story your data tell. This year we are lucky to have  Julianna Renzi, a NASA Intern, with us who is starting to look for patterns and trends in our Tucson and Arizona data, as well as make some recommendations about what we need to do to make our local dataset more complete. 

Julianna is a NASA Spacegrant intern working for the USA-NPN this year.  She is a junior at the University of Arizona studying environmental science and interested in exploring arid land phenology. This semester she worked on summarizing the Tucson data and is now looking for potential climatic relationships in Southwestern phenology. She has found some interesting preliminary relationships in the Tucson data and is excited to delve more deeply into it during the coming semester. We will report on her findings in the spring!

Upcoming Events

Monthly "Coffee Walk" at the UA Campus Arboretum -
January 25, 2016, 9am

Join us on Monday, January 25th, from 9am - 10am for the third monthly "Coffee Walk" at the Krutch Garden. We will meet by the Cats Statue, learn about phenology and collect observations for the Nature's Notebook Citizen Science Program. FREE, locally sourced coffee will be provided! Just bring a mug and an interest in learning about what is blooming and which critters are visiting this month in the garden.

Plant Marking at Tucson Mission Garden -
January 2016
We selected plants to observe at the Tucson Mission Garden during PhenoWeek in October, and now we need to add permanent tags to the individuals we've chosen. If you are interested in helping with this process, email LoriAnne by January 8th to let her know. She will email you with details about when that will happen. 

The Art of Paying Attention Workshop II -
March 2016

Together with Beth Surdut we will be offering a second opportunity to learn the art of paying attention and telling a nature story. Observing nature starts with curiosity about what's around you. This workshop will explore and hone your observation skills through writing, drawing and storytelling. Plan to come share your backyard critter and habitat stories —off the cuff is just fine! Award-winning artist and writer Beth Surdut, creator of Listening to Raven and The Art of Paying Attention NPR radio series, will facilitate the telling of your wildlife tales.

Stay tuned for more information about dates and times, during the month of March 2016.

Copyright © 2015 USA National Phenology Network, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp