Darcie Howard

Connecting Teens with Nature: Phenological Fun with Technology

Connecting Teens with Nature: Phenological Fun With Technology will allow high school and college students to use their electronic devices to record phenological data at the Montana Audubon Center and connect that data with the USA National Phenological Network through an application called Nature’s Notebook. The Montana Audubon Center, located along the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana, sits on 54 acres of a reclaimed gravel pit. For the past decade, volunteers have worked to restore the land and the site's three ponds. The conservation goals at the center coincides with the Toyota TogetherGreen goals: 1) to restore habitats for species of concern such as the Northern Leopard Frog and Snapping Turtle and 2) to improve water quality to protect biodiversity. Essential to achieving these goals is developing a strong, accurate phenological database on the flora and fauna surrounding the center. The project will connect with two high schools and Rocky Mountain College to provide the opportunity for 80 high school environmental science students and 20 plant ecology students to collect phenological data on several species of plants, wetland organisms, and land animals, including breeding data for birds. Expected results include the following: 1) enhanced understanding of phenology processes along with data collecting and recording techniques, 2) understanding how to use available technology to learn about nature, 3) development of a designated phenological trail which will provide citizen science opportunities in the future, 4) development of a strong data set for the Montana Audubon Center’s flora and fauna, and 5) increase engagement of students to the natural world.

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