Each fall anticipation builds for the release of the popular Phenology Calendar. This year is no different. Still featuring stunning photography, this year’s selected images have broadened in scope. While many of us may think of the first robin sighting as the first sign of spring, seasonal events such as these occur throughout the land community, not just for migrating birds or hibernating mammals. As such, the photography of the 2020 calendar is reflective of the plants, animals, birds, insects, and surroundings that make up our natural world.
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As a wonderful and educational complement to the photography, introductory text and monthly sidebar panels written by Dr. Stanley Temple highlight how two commonly confused environmental factors – weather and climate – influence the timing of these seasonal events. In addition to seeing the average date for when the tiger salamander will emerge from hibernation, you’ll learn how the variability in weather conditions can affect the timing – they’ll wait for the first warm, rainy spring night.
Drawing from Aldo Leopold’s meticulous observations and notes at the Shack as well as a set of records kept by his daughter Nina Leopold Bradley, the Leopold Foundation has continued to record and maintain phenology data. It is a pleasure to share this rich family legacy through the calendar. In addition to the Leopold records, the calendar includes data provided by the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas. So if you want to know when the first blooms of lupine will burst or when the first Eastern phoebe will return, the calendar reminds you when to begin looking for them.
“Keeping records enhances the pleasure of the search, and the chance of finding order and meaning in these events.” – Aldo Leopold
Tracking the first frost, the first snowfall, and the first chipmunk or garter snake is a fun way to connect with inner workings of nature (in your own backyard even!) and gain an understanding of nature’s cycles. The 2020 Phenology Calendar is an opportunity to walk through the year together and develop a greater appreciation for the plants, animals, birds, and insects that share our home. Join us with your calendar in hand or follow along on social media for our #PhenologyFriday highlights.
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