As the Earth’s climate changes, the seasonal behaviors of plants and animals (leafing, blooming, nesting, migration, etc.) are shifting in complex, interconnected ways. Phenology, the study of these seasonal changes, has a key role in our understanding and adapting to the present and future impacts of climate change. To help the public contribute information to this field – while enjoying and learning about the natural world — the Finger Lakes Land Trust has created a Phenology Trail at its Roy H. Park Preserve in Dryden, with funding provided by a Neighborhood Mini-Grant from Sustainable Tompkins.

Trailhead kiosks provide datasheets for recording the condition of the leaves, flowers, and fruit of six trailside trees labeled with interpretive signs. Visitors may report their findings to the Nature’s Notebook website run by the National Phenology Network, or leave datasheets at a kiosk for submission by Land Trust staff. Submissions have arrived regularly ever since the trail opened in June 2016. Data gathered on the website is used in scientific research, education, resource management, and policy making; yielding widespread benefits from local observations.

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives to build environmental, economic, and social resilience and well-being in Tompkins County. The program is sponsored by the Park Foundation, Beck Equipment, Craig Riecke, Natural Investments, Fingerlakes Wealth Management, and local donors. We need your support so we can help more citizen leaders act on their values. Please donate today and help us support more wonderful citizen-driven projects to improve life in our community.