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VENTURA FWO: Planting the Seed for Citizen Science: Climate Change and Phenology Workshops for Educators and Scientists in Southern California
California-Nevada Offices , October 6, 2009
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SMMNRA Park Rangers Robert Cromwell and Lisa Okazaki display one of  the native plants they donated to each participant to help them jumpstart their phenology monitoring from home. (photo: Kate Eschelbach,  USFWS)
SMMNRA Park Rangers Robert Cromwell and Lisa Okazaki display one of  the native plants they donated to each participant to help them jumpstart their phenology monitoring from home. (photo: Kate Eschelbach,  USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
UCSB Phenology Stewardship Program PhD Candidate Brian Haggerty was chock full of relevant and interesting examples for workshop participants while investigating phenophases in the SMMNRA native plant garden. Even VFWO Biologist Colleen Mehlberg (middle, background) couldn’t resist taking notes.(photo: Lisa Okazaki, SMMNRA)
UCSB Phenology Stewardship Program PhD Candidate Brian Haggerty was chock full of relevant and interesting examples for workshop participants while investigating phenophases in the SMMNRA native plant garden. Even VFWO Biologist Colleen Mehlberg (middle, background) couldn’t resist taking notes.(photo: Lisa Okazaki, SMMNRA) - Photo Credit: n/a
Nopalito Native Plant Nursery co-owner, Antonio Sanchez. Since the workshop, Nopalito Nursery and the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office have created phenology gardens with many partners in Oxnard, California. (photo:  Kate Eschelbach)
Nopalito Native Plant Nursery co-owner, Antonio Sanchez. Since the workshop, Nopalito Nursery and the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office have created phenology gardens with many partners in Oxnard, California. (photo:  Kate Eschelbach) - Photo Credit: n/a
Biologists Michael Glenn, Danielle Dillard and Lena Chang discuss their example plants. (photo: Kate Eschelbach, USFWS)
Biologists Michael Glenn, Danielle Dillard and Lena Chang discuss their example plants. (photo: Kate Eschelbach, USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Susan Mazer, the head of UCSB’s Phenology Stewardship Program, talks a group of educators, including Oxnard School District teachers Nancy Karnoski and Juan Venegas, through how to identify and record plant phenophases. Both Nancy and Juan have started planning for phenology gardens at their schools since the workshop. (photo: Lisa Okazaki, SMMNRA)
Susan Mazer, the head of UCSB’s Phenology Stewardship Program, talks a group of educators, including Oxnard School District teachers Nancy Karnoski and Juan Venegas, through how to identify and record plant phenophases. Both Nancy and Juan have started planning for phenology gardens at their schools since the workshop. (photo: Lisa Okazaki, SMMNRA) - Photo Credit: n/a
Diane Noda and Steve Henry record plant phenophases.(photo: Kate Eschelbach, USFWS)
Diane Noda and Steve Henry record plant phenophases.(photo: Kate Eschelbach, USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

Kate Eschelbach, Ventura FWO
The Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office's Connecting People with Nature Program, in partnership with the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) and with generous funding provided by the USFWS Southwest Pacific Region, hosted four, free, one-day workshops focused on phenology (the study of seasonal timing of life events, such as when a flower blooms in the spring), citizen science, and climate change in Southern California in the fall of 2009. The workshops provided the opportunity to learn about phenology, its relationship to climate change, and how scientists - including student scientists! - can monitor phenology and contribute to a national effort to collect information on climate change and to monitor its pace in California. Educators, scientists, and citizen scientists were invited to attend a day of hands-on activities, discussion, and designing new classroom & outdoor activities customized for youth and adults alike.

 

The workshops were a success in terms of facilitating both partnerships and participation. SMMNRA hosted the workshops under the guidance of Lisa Okazaki at their visitor center in Thousand Oaks, California, Susan Mazer, PhD and Brian Haggerty of the UCSB Phenology Stewardship Program led the instruction on phenology and climate change (through funding provided by the USFWS Southwest Pacific Region), and VFWO staff member Kate Eschelbach oversaw overall workshop coordination. UCSB was able to highlight their newly revised Phenology Handbook, which is now available on the National Phenology Network website.

 

Over 100 participants attended the workshops, including staff from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (Heather Abbey, Lena Chang, Danielle Dillard, Michael Glenn, Steve Henry, Judy Hohman, Inez Lanns, Colleen Mehlberg, Diane Noda, Connie Rutherford, Erin Shapiro and Kirk Waln) and other USFWS representatives from throughout the Southwest Pacific Region (Carolyn Kolstad and Cathy Johnson). There were also numerous participants from local schools and school districts, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the National Park Service (including SMMNRA, Channel Islands, Sequoia and Death Valley), National Phenology Network, local Resource Conservation Districts, local city management representatives, UCSB students, professors from local community colleges and universities, after school program directors, 4-H programs, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Theodore Payne Foundation and many more. 

 

Workshop participants now have the tools they need to include phenology monitoring as a part of their new or existing projects and have the ability to build on the existing citizen scientist efforts of the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, University of California Santa Barbara, National Park Service, Project BudBurst and the USA National Phenology Network in Southern California. We hope that not only did the participants learn about ways to get involved but that it can be a positive activity for their audiences in an effort to contribute to our scientific understanding of climate change.


Contact Info: Kate Eschelbach, 8056441766 x259, kate_eschelbach@fws.gov



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