Phenology Study

Casey Trees is interested in tracking the timing of seasonal events, also known as phenological events, such as leaf out, fruiting, fall color and leaf drop on several tree species in the Washington, D.C. area planted both by our organization and occurring elsewhere in the metropolitan region. Our hope is that our constituents, armed with their tree identification and anatomy knowledge, will learn to notice the seasonal changes that occur on these trees throughout the year and become attuned to how these changes are tied to weather and climate patterns.

As our organization expands regionally and continues to have a presence in Berryville, Virginia, the location of our tree farm, we are interested to learn whether the timing of these phenological events is occurring earlier in urban areas, due to the urban heat island effect, when compared with their surrounding areas.

In the long term, this citizen science based research will help inform our organizational practices and advance the field of urban forestry as we learn how the species in Washington are responding to climate variability and, over the long-term, to climate change.

How to Participate:

Casey Trees has partnered with the USA National Phenology Network and their existing Nature’s Notebook program to monitor tree phenology and assist with their goal of gathering information on plant and animal phenology across the U.S. to be used for decision-making on local, national and global scales to ensure the continued vitality of our environment.

1. Identify which plants to monitor. For this effort, we are focusing on several species that are common in the Washington, D.C. and are often part of our planting pallet:

American elm (Ulmus americana)
blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica)
northern red oak (Quercus rubra)
pin oak (Quercus palustris)
red maple (Acer rubrum)
sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana)
sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

2. Create an account in Nature’s Notebook. An email address and Internet access are all that are needed.

3. Observe your tree(s). We encourage you to observe your tree(s) 2-4 times a week, especially in the spring and fall, when things are changing rapidly. However, we welcome any observations you can contribute.

Note: A Phenology Monitoring training is offered once a year in the spring. This training is useful but not mandatory for participating in our monitoring efforts.

Create an Account in Nature’s Notebook »