Tracking Critters and Plants

As seasons change, plants bloom and leaves turn color, animals grow and change their form.  We call the biological process of seasonal change “phenology”.  Did you notice that Ellie’s home page has many monthly posts about plant and animal phenology? 

In a cool shady forest, or a busy city park, near a cascading stream or in your own backyard – wherever you’ve been in the out-of doors, what changes have you seen?  Nature detectives know the joy of the “hunt”, and the thrill of discovery.  It’s fun to share discoveries - and you can share your results with Ellie and her friends!  

To start tracking

  1. Download and make several copies of the Ellie’s Log tracking form.  Staple the copies together, and your field journal is ready to go. 
  2. Take your field journal outside and write down what you observe. What animals or plants did you see?
  3. Go out a second and third time and record what you see. By the second observation, you may be seeing changes.

If you need help figuring out what you’ve found, check out the Websites for Tracking.  On some of those tracking websites you can add your data to a national scientific database.