Phenology – Investigating Nature’s Calendar

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A picture of four tree leaves, each a different color.

Phenology is a branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena, such as bird migration or plant flowering.

What causes the different seasons? What’s the difference between climate and weather? These are some of the questions that you’ll answer when you participate in our phenology activities.

For this portion of the West Virginia Outdoor Learning Lab, you’ll focus on investigating nature’s calendar by tracking phenological changes at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. You can help us track these changes through basic observation and then recording your data on the Nature’s Notebook website. When you create an account be sure to add The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve as your partner group site. If you’re having trouble finding it or have a question, stop by the WVOLL tent near Bolder Cove and we can help.

Think you’ve got what it takes to track down these species and record your data just like a scientist? Check out the resources below to help you identify some of the plants that we need help tracking.

Merit Badge Correlations:
    Nature
    Plant Science
Phenology Resources:
    WVOLL Wetland Phenology Sign
    Nature’s Notebook (Remember to select The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve as your site!)
    WVDNR Plant Identification Field Guide (pdf)
Activities:
    Phenophase Bingo (pdf)
    Plant Scavenger Hunt (pdf)
Flower Species Pictures:
A picture of blue vervain.

Blue Vervain.
Verbena Hastata.
(Photo credit Zell, H. via Wikimedia Commons.)

A picture of Foxglove Beardtounge

Foxglove Beardtounge.
Penstemon digitalis.
(Photo credit Fritzflohrreynolds via Wikimedia commons.)

A photo of pickerelweed.

Pickerelweed.
Pontederia cordata.
(Photo credit Fritzflohrreynolds via Wikimedia Commons.)

A picture of Bird's Foot Trefoil.

Bird’s Foot Trefoil.
Lotus corniculatus.
(Photo credit Evelyn Simak via Wikimedia Commons.)

A picture of Eastern Daisy Fleabane.

Eastern Daisy Fleabane.
Erigeron annuus.
(Photo credit Fritzflohrreynolds via Wikimedia Commons.)

A picture of Deptford Pink.

Deptford Pink.
Dianthus armeria.
(Photo credit Ksd5 via Wikimedia Commons.)

Swamp Milkweed. (Photo credit: Tom D. Schultz via Wikimedia Commons).

Swamp Milkweed.
Asclepias incarnata.
(Photo credit: Tom D. Schultz via Wikimedia Commons).

A picture of a River Birch leaf.

River Birch.
Betula Nigra.
(Photo credit: Derek Ramsey via Wikimedia Commons).

A picture of American Sycamore leaves.

American Sycamore.
Platanus occidentalis.

A picture of an American Sycamore tree.

American Sycamore.
Platanus occidentalis.

A picture of Honey Locust leaves.

Honey Locust.
Gleditsia triacanthos.

A picture of Honey Locust bark.

Honey Locust.
Gleditsia triacanthos.

A picture of Red Maple leaves.

Red Maple.
Acer rubrum.