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Local

Nature’s Notebook — an opportunity for volunteers to participate

Observing nature is fun. It can also serve a greater purpose. Nature’s Notebook is a national, online program where amateur and professional naturalists regularly record observations of plants and animals to generate long-term data sets used for scientific discovery and decision-making.

Phenology is the timing of seasonal changes in plants and animals each year. Life-cycle events such as flowering, emergence of insects, and migration of birds are related to weather and climate as well as day length. Observations of phenology made over many years help scientists, land managers and decision makers by providing valuable information.

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is participating in Nature’s Notebook and is looking for volunteers. An information session will be from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, with a potluck and discussion about the program and what you can do to help. Requirements to participate in Nature’s Notebook are the ability to learn to identify a few species of plants and animals (training will be provided before next spring), to visit the refuge several times during the year to make observations and to record observations on paper and submit the data to refuge staff.

Bring a dish to share for the potluck. Questions will be answered at the information session. For more information contact Karen at karen_vistesparkman@fws.gov or 515-994-3400.

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