of the Seasons
have long been aware of changes in nature that are influenced by weather
and climate. Phenology is the term for the
study of the timing of these seasonal changes in plants and
animals. The amount of sunlight, which affects day length
and temperature, is the main factor driving these shifts.
When students closely observe the natural world, record data, and notice
patterns as the seasons unfold, they build a deeper understanding of
to Collect Phenology Observations
Observing the Cycle of the Seasons
Phenology Checklist begins with sunlight and progresses up the
food chain — from sunlight to plants to animals.
decreases and temperatures drop in the fall. Plants die or go
dormant, so food is less available. Some animals migrate
and others hibernate, but all must adapt. As
you collect your fall observations, pay attention to the events
you will track in reverse in the spring.
SPRING: Watch how the food chain
rebuilds in the spring as the season progresses.
Energy from the sun increases, temperatures rise,
ice melts, and plant growth begins. The animals
that eat plants appear first, followed by their
predators — and so on up the food chain.
passing out a Phenology Checklist:
signs tell you that fall (or spring) is approaching? (You
may want to add these to the Journey North list, or create
sounds, smells, colors, and feelings accompany these
changes for you?
the season — and from year to year (as students
compare phenology checklists):