Metafilter Phenology Network! March 6, 2009 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Metafilter Phenology Network!

So, if anyone else was listening to Science Friday today, you may have heard about the National Phenology Network:
The USA National Phenology Network brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. The network harnesses the power of people and the Internet* to collect and share information, providing researchers with far more data than they could collect alone.
On their newly-launched website individuals can create an account and begin submitting their observations of plants in their area. The guest on Science Friday said they were hoping to get 100,000 observers over the next few years. Surely Metafilter could take a chunk out of that number!

The site has been a little slow this afternoon, so it may be worth bookmarking and visiting later in the week. From the home page click Participate, then once you've confirmed your e-mail address click My NPN at the top left to begin entering your observations.

* That's us!
posted by odinsdream to MetaFilter-Related at 2:33 PM (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Nobody is crowdsourcing the bumps on my head, bucko.

Actually, this sounds pretty neat.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:39 PM on March 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


I heard that report while driving to lunch and couldn't wait to get home to sign up. They need help developing an iPhone app. Can any Mefite help?

I have gardening data going back to 1991 and I'm hoping they'll be able to accept that someday too.

/plant nerd
posted by jamaro at 2:48 PM on March 6, 2009


National Phenology Network

Yeah, um, hinging the name of your scientific research organization around an obscure term that is one letter off the name of the single most widely-known debunked pseudoscience, particularly when your area of focus is being called into question by idiots everywhere, is probably not the greatest idea. It's a bit FAIL-y, even.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:49 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq; cheer up - imagine watching for those tiny bursts of green in your back yard and excitedly jotting them down so that scientists around the world will be able to better model how fucked up the climate truly is!
posted by odinsdream at 2:53 PM on March 6, 2009


Bah, too much work. I think I'll just make some data up.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:10 PM on March 6, 2009


I was just coming in here to make a phrenology crack but since cortex beat me I'll just slink away and go look at some plants.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:11 PM on March 6, 2009


It's a bit FAIL-y, even.

Well...that's the name of what they're doing, and I understand they have a bit of a branding problem, but it's like telling neuroscientists that they should change their name so as not to be confused with neurologists. Phenology has had this name a long time; it's not like they thought of it this week and didn't notice the obvious problem.

I remember reading about this group in a non-web-ish form about fifteen years ago when I was an evironmental educator. It's a fantastic idea to use observations of the natural world this way - in fact given that it works with geographical data reported from many discrete locations, it's a science that was sort of waiting for the web to come along.

I do kind of wish you had gone ahead and made an FPP of this with some other phenology links. Given that more people read the blue than the gray, and that this is a project 'out there' rather than a MeFi-specific project, it might end up resulting in more recruits if you took that path.
posted by Miko at 3:21 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I JUST LISTENED TO THIS TODAY AS WELL AND I AM TOTALLY IN! FOR SIMPLICITIES SAKE I WILL POST ALL OF MY FINDINGS IN CAPS ON METATALK FOR LATER ADDITION TO THE DATABASES.
posted by Science! at 3:24 PM on March 6, 2009


I JUST SAW A BROWN BIRD.
posted by Science! at 3:24 PM on March 6, 2009


SOME OF MY GRASS IS GREEN OTHER GRASS IS STILL BROWN, BUT A LIGHTER SHADE THAN THE BIRD.
posted by Science! at 3:25 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


IT IS 72 DEGREES IN KANSAS.
posted by Science! at 3:25 PM on March 6, 2009


A CAR DROVE BY.
posted by Science! at 3:25 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I totally read it as phrenology too! ha! ha ha!
posted by GuyZero at 3:26 PM on March 6, 2009


Sorry, seriously though, I'm totally in. That whole interview was essential the researcher begging for social, internet and other groups to get involved because more readings make everything more accurate.

Hey, and if you're into writing facebook, iphone, twitter, or myspace apps and stuff check this out because they are desperate and excited for people to enable instant reporting over a variety of mediums. One caller on the show mentioned she was a mail carrier, imagine if every mail carrier could instantly update the database with what their seeing on their route, or meter readers, or ups guys or everyone.

Sure a ton of the updates won't be accurate, but it's about the trend.
posted by Science! at 3:28 PM on March 6, 2009


I JUST KNOW SOMETHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN.
posted by dawson at 3:39 PM on March 6, 2009


I HAVE A BUMP ON MY HEAD.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:43 PM on March 6, 2009


ALL THE PLANTS I SEE HAVE BEEN LANDSCAPED, TREATED, PESTICIDED, HERBICIDED, AND MANICURED IN A MEDIOCRE AND SOULLESS FASHION
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:51 PM on March 6, 2009


I HEARD SOME SOUNDS!

er, phenology, rats.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:51 PM on March 6, 2009


WHAT DOES THIS LITTLE LIGHT MEAN AND WHY CAN'T I TYPE SMALL LETTERS?
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 4:16 PM on March 6, 2009


I GOT THE SMALL LETTERS BUT I AM STUMPED ABOUT THE LITTLE LIGHT
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 4:17 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Go into the light...go into the light...
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:27 PM on March 6, 2009


BEING AND TIME ARE STILL PRESENT
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:30 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are no plants in my area.
posted by jonmc at 4:32 PM on March 6, 2009


I do kind of wish you had gone ahead and made an FPP of this with some other phenology links. Given that more people read the blue than the gray, and that this is a project 'out there' rather than a MeFi-specific project, it might end up resulting in more recruits if you took that path.

That's a great idea, but I think it would be better left up to someone with a more intimate understanding of this particular science. I thought it was a cool project idea, but I'd never heard of phenology before today.
posted by odinsdream at 5:15 PM on March 6, 2009


I JUST WANT TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS. KTHXBYE.
posted by metastability at 5:16 PM on March 6, 2009


We recently experienced a very high load on our servers and in resolving the problem user passwords were lost. Please click here for instructions to reestablish your password. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

Doh!

This is so cool.
posted by rtha at 7:08 PM on March 6, 2009


I signed up, although nothing that grows in my back yard is of interest to them and California poppies, which self-seed in my front planter box, are "coming soon". Does this mean I have to get off my butt and walk to the park or something?

I couldn't identify most of the plants on their list - I'm a city girl, admittedly, but I think if they want to get a broad swath of non-botanists involved, they should probably revise their plant list format. Like: "Here are the plants in your area that we're interested in, by name and thumbnail picture" rather than the whole list. You can filter by state, but that doesn't cut it down much, especially for large states with diverse climatic conditions like California. It probably wouldn't be too hard to cross-reference zip code to USDA climate zone and species distributions.

Anyway, if there's a MeFi team, I'd like to be on it.
posted by Quietgal at 8:55 PM on March 6, 2009


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