Tuesday, March 31, 2015

West Virginia Climate History Project

Phenology is the schedule nature follows, and, as it turns out, nature tends to be punctual and well-coordinated. The timing of ecological cycles is often precise, interdependent, and carefully evolved in order for an organism to achieve the greatest benefit. The dominant force driving phenology is climate. Worldwide trends reveal shifts in cyclic events occur in response to climate change.

The West Virginia University Natural History Museum (wvnaturalhistory.wvu.edu) is collecting valuable phenological information for the West Virginia Climate History Project. Our goal is to compile historic and current West Virginia phenological conditions to develop a standard to compare and develop future observations as both a natural history study and as contribution in climate change research. Ultimately, we intend to generate a spatially-explicit database to use in an up-to-date citizen-science phenology program for schools, groups, and interested individuals to help spark awareness of phenology and the ramifications of climate change.

The project requires assistance in obtaining information. While ideal data sources include diaries from observers with an interest in natural science, records from field stations, archives from bird and game associations, or any sort of relevant data can be used. All contributors will be accurately and explicitly credited for their data.

Guidelines for Data Submission:
      We will take data in any form, be it an old diary or digital database
      Species Details
      Dates (Any time – ranging from over 100 years ago to the present)
      Locations (e.g. town, county, coordinates, elevation)
      Restricted to West Virginia and bordering counties
      Event Descriptions (e.g. flowering, breeding, migration)

If you think you or someone you know may be able to help us with this project in any way, including having access to desired data or networks, or if you are simply curious about the project or the topic of phenology and have some questions, please contact Lori Petrauski at lmpetrauski@mix.wvu.edu, the WVU Wildlife and Fisheries Resources graduate student working on this research project.

(Note that this record keeping may count toward your volunteer hours.  Check with your chapter coordinator.)

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