USA National Phenology Network logoI'm excited to announce a collaboration with the USA National Phenology Network. The story of how this came about follows.

The more I work with this project, the more it shows me the direction it wants to go in. While developing the documents for the Library Seed Bank (LSB), I decided to include a garden journal for many reasons. First and foremost journals provide a tremendous amount of first-hand information and insight. When I think of all the local historic gardening knowledge that's been lost, specifically what plants were grown, I think about the difference a collection journals would've made. Just think about the rich content and wonderful stories that we would have today.

cover image Library Seed Bank's Garden JournalTo follow that through on that thought, I decided to include a Garden Journal as a pdf form in LSB. This is so people who wanted to could keep a journal of their observations for themselves, and hopefully, submit them to LSB as part of the seed map since that will have a local focus. Also, if the public libraries that are participating want to keep them as reference, all the better. Since libraries are the original storehouses of knowledge. I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from that fact for this project, and the concept of this journal is a tribute to that. Concurrently, seeds a storehouse of genetic knowledge of the plants they are from. I find this synergy between seeds and libraries as storehouses of knowledge very cool.

The gardening seasons in my corner of New Jersey were quite odd weather wise. Enter climate change. It's here and now, and I have no time to waste with the deniers. This made think that it would be a good idea to include a section about the weather in the journal since it's plays such crucial role in how the gardening season turns out.

It was that point that I thought since I'm asking people to collect data about weather, why not see if it could help out the scientists who are studying climate change. I knew of the USA National Phenology Network. For those who don't know what phenology is, I'll  let the people at USA NPN explain it by this quote;

Phenology is nature’s calendar—when cherry trees bloom, when a robin builds its nest and when leaves turn color in the fall.

People are aware of these of wonders of nature, yet as I admit, until about 3 years ago, I didn't know it was a branch of science devoted to the study of them. In my daily conversations when I use the word phenology, most are not familiar, yet if I say something like quote above, or mention Henri David Thoreau, people get it right away. By the way, Thoreau's writings have been the basis of many experiments, and he's a tremendous inspiration for LSB.

I took a step back to observe. You see, I let stories of my life write themselves. It's taken a long time to learn to get out their way when they appear and still be aware of them. When they do appear, like this one, I saw a golden opportunity. Climate change is here. With its impact on our planet the rules are changing. I thought if I'm asking people to write their observations in their garden, like Thoreau, why not ask them to collect data for the good people at USANPN.  And that's what's going to happen. USANPN has a Nature's Notebook;

Nature's Notebook logo

Nature's Notebook gathers information on plant and animal phenology across the U.S. to be used for decision-making on local, national and global scales to ensure the continued vitality of our environment.

While the data points that USANPN uses are not agricultural, gardeners garden on many levels, so I'm sure there will be some data points in and around gardener's yards that they can observe and collect data. I see LSB's Garden Journal as a bridge to learning about phenology, encouraging people to collect data that will help scientists understand the impact of climate change, and fulfilling the original intent of collecting local gardening information and having it readily available.

To say I'm over the moon about this is an understatement.