A Personal Phenology


My friend Judith was an Iowa farm girl and finds the subtle signs of spring inspiring and a call to action. When she purchased her house in 1990, she found a phenology chart started by the previous owner dated May 1976, taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet. She has kept it up most years and shares a blank version annually with her (less organized) friends. She loves finding consistency in the arrival of birds and garden progress.

Over the years, she has personalized the chart, adding items important to her. She has plans to update it, categorize and alphabetize it some day but something taped inside a kitchen cabinet, like a favorite recipe or those oft-forgotten conversions (16 tablespoons in a cup), has its own charm and usefulness.


We know that those of you who enjoy our Minnesota Weatherguide calendar also observe and treasure the nuances of the changing seasons. If you have been keeping a personal phenology in your region for long enough to observe trends, share it on social media and tag us! It’s a good use for our calendar, especially the planner which is loaded with week-by-week updates.

Judith reports that she saw a female warbler 5 days ago, the cranes are posing and dancing, she heard bluebirds but has not seen them, and thinks she might have heard a phoebe today.

— Carrie Jennings, research and policy director

2 thoughts on “A Personal Phenology”

  1. I love the story about Judith! Especially during difficult times, it’s good to re-connect with the things that are enduring. Hearing a phoebe. Watching the cranes. For us here in Illinois, seeing the wild leek foilage in the woodlands. A lot of things might be closed right now, but nature is open!

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