California Phenology Project

Phenology is the study of the timing of seasonal life cycle events (e.g., the appearance of breaking buds, flowers, ripe fruits, seed dispersal, egg-hatching, fledging) in plants and animals. The California Phenology Project (CPP) was launched in 2010 with funding from the National Park Service Climate Change Response Program to design and to implement long-term phenological monitoring and public education in California. Our primary focus has been to recruit, train, and encourage California residents and visitors to record and to interpret the phenological status of wild plants.  After more than seven years of phenological monitoring, and thanks to the enthusiasm, dedication, and daily trail-walking among our volunteers, the CPP is still going strong. Participants have recorded -- and uploaded into the USA National Phenology Network's user-friendly interface, Nature's Notebook -- more than 1,500,000 observations of the phenological status of wild plant species in California. Scientists are now using CPP data to measure and to predict the effects of climatic variation and climate change on the seasonal cycles of ecologically important and iconic California species.

The CPP initially focused on monitoring woody plant species in seven pilot parks, encompassing desert, coastal and mountain biomes, and building upon existing monitoring protocols and programs of project collaborators.  With the help of many partners, volunteers, and docents who attended CPP-led training workshops, phenological monitoring is now being conducted in California in over a dozen regional and state parks, botanical gardens, private reserves, and University of California Natural Reserves, where ~30 native plant species are now being monitored. 

Please explore our website to learn more about phenology, the origin and current activities of the CPP, where the CPP is currently monitoring plant phenology, and how to become involved. Also visit the news tab for recent updates and upcoming events.

Project collaborators include the National Park Service (NPS), the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and  the National Coordinating Office of the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN)
Visit our cooperators and points of contact page to contact us directly or to learn more about the project partners who are currently spearheading this effort.