Local Phenology Leader Certification Program - Online Course


Local Phenology Leader Certification Program - Online Course

The USA National Phenology Network’s Local Phenology Leader Certification Course is designed to help you establish a Nature's Notebook citizen science program. It is most appropriate for those interested in developing long-term engagement programs (not just one-time opportunities) and long-term phenology datasets using Nature's Notebook.

The course is online and interactive; participants work with a cohort of others across the county and with USA-NPN Outreach and Education Staff to gain the skills need to develop a program plan, begin recruiting volunteers, collecting observations, analyzing observation data, and collaborating with community partners.

This Certification is a $55, 10-week, 50-hour course. It is currently offered two times a year (in January and in September) and can accommodate 20 participants per cohort. Participants should plan to spend about 5 hours per week on coursework. It includes a combination of online assignments, group discussions, and the development of an individualized program plan for monitoring phenology using Nature’s Notebook. Course learning outcomes include: (1) to define phenology and the importance of phenology for scientific research; (2) to utilize Nature’s Notebook online science program to keep track of phenology observations; (3) to explore the USA-NPN phenology protocols for plants and animals and the resources available through Nature’s Notebook for making observations; (4) to demonstrate how to set up and facilitate a Group monitoring site in Nature’s Notebook; (5) to identify solutions for common barriers to participation and the sustainability of a phenology program involving volunteer management; and (6) to construct content to recruit and engage new observers in phenology monitoring. 

You are required to complete a needs assessment before being accepted into the course. No experience with phenology monitoring or Nature’s Notebook is necessary prior to enrollment. The needs assessment will be utilized during the course to help you develop a sustainable program. Once certified, you will be recognized as a Local Phenology Leader on the USA-NPN’s website.  

If you are interested in not only learning how to use Nature’s Notebook citizen and professional science program but also how to incorporate it into the scientific or educational work you are already doing for your organization, this course is for you. Establishing long-term phenology monitoring programs enhances visitor and student learning teaches about the importance of science and helps to document the changes we are seeing in our natural world; preserving that information for generations to come.