Phenology is the study of the life cycle events of living things – like tracking when plants get their leaves, their flowers, and their fruits. Knowing this information gives us a better understanding of the species in our ecosystems, can guide the timing of our invasive plant management work, and can help us track the impacts of climate change on plants in Vermont. In 2022, The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation (FPR) is spearheading a few projects geared towards tracking the phenology of invasive plants and we need your help!
Intrigued? There are several ways people can contribute invasive plant phenology observations. The projects FPR is leading are listed below, organized by the amount of time they ask of volunteers. Sign up for the project(s) that make the most sense for you or connect with us if you have questions.
Statewide Invasive Plant Phenology Monitoring Project: Are you a Vermonter on-the-go or someone visiting Vermont this spring/summer, who wants to volunteer? During the second full week of each month of the growing season, volunteers note the invasive plant phenology of whatever Vermont county they happen to be in at the time. This gives us a snapshot of plant phenology across the state. It is a great opportunity for anyone who is hiking in the warmer months, who travels extensively around Vermont, or who is here on vacation and wants to be involved in protecting our local biodiversity.
Pesky Plant Trackers (in Vermont!): Concerned about wild parsnip or knotweed in your community? Are there wild parsnip or knotweed plants near where you live or work? Consider joining a regional effort to better understand these plants. Observers “adopt” specific wild parsnip or knotweed plants and track the plants’ phenology through the growing season.
Vermont Invasive Plant Phenology Project: Looking to regularly contribute to scientific research as part of a long-term project? This project collects phenology data on invasive plants at specific locations across Vermont. If you can contribute weekly observations and want to know if you live near one of our study sites, please be in touch.