Student Phenology Data

Submissions

Crosslake Middle School in Crosslake, MN

Middle School 5th – 8th grade Science class
Questions:
  • I wonder how did the flower seeds get into the crack by my basement?
  • I wonder why our grass is suddenly growing so fast?
  • I wonder what kind of tree that is?
Observations:
  • I smell: fresh air, it doesn’t smell like anything really
  • I hear: birds, crickets, garbage pick-up, talking
  • I feel: the warm sun, the warm breeze, the grass below me

Crosslake Middle School in Crosslake, MN

Some Middle School 5th – 8th-grade
Questions:
  • I wonder when the first snowfall will be for my area?
  • How many calories does an acorn have for a squirrel?
  • I wonder how many seeds are in a hibiscus flower seed pod?
Observations:
  • it’s getting colder
  • we’re losing more light
  • we’re starting to get snow

Lincoln Elementary School in Owatonna, MN

First-grade Observations:
  • wood chips
  • “minty” smelling air
  • a water faucet that had a huge chunk of ice flowing from it
  • hard, crunchy ground
  • a blackbird
  • wind
  • cold nose
  • frost
  • wind shaking pine branches
  • leaves rustling

Lincoln Elementary School in Owatonna, MN

We looked for evidence that animals have been on our school grounds. We compared the tracks we found with an identification sheet but students didn’t agree about whether they were from a rabbit or a squirrel but they gave thoughtful reasons for their thinking:
  • I think they are from a rabbit because they don’t have claws and squirrels have claws.
  • I think they’re from a squirrel because a lot of the tracks are by the trees and squirrels climb in trees.
  • I think they’re from a squirrel because there are lots of tracks all over and we see squirrels around all the time. We hardly ever see rabbits.
  • If we saw acorns we’d know they are squirrel tracks.

Highlands Elementary School in Edina, MN

Great to see, hear, feel, smell what 0 degrees is like for these students.
Questions:
  • I wonder what types of smells can you smell outside?
  • I wonder why is the snow so deep?
  • I wonder why were the leaves still on the tree?
Observations:
  • I hear: snow crunching, snapping of twigs, bird calls
  • I feel: cold snow, bumpy sticks/twigs, rough trees, smooth logs
  • I smell: pine, coldness

Lincoln Elementary School in Owatonna, MN

On a warmer winter day, we went on a water form hunt and documented findings.
  • water vapor in jet contrail
  • car exhaust
  • school furnace exhaust
  • snow
  • ice
  • water puddles
  • running water – snowmelt from our school roof

Lincoln Elementary School in Owatonna, MN

After our latest snowfall, students discovered
  • clear bird tracks
  • claw prints on squirrel tracks
  • an animal hole, it goes way back, like a tunnel; the animal might still be in there
  • Mrs, Gytri, did you know we’re standing on the subnivean layer?
  • an animal burrow near the bird feeders
  • students playing Rabbits in the Hole
  • a frozen leaf
  • a beautiful snow formation

Hanover Elementary School in Hanover, MN

This week’s cold temps kept students & teachers inside but the animals were out! Animals have adaptations like thicker fur in the winter and behaviors like fluffing up their feathers in order to retain warmth on these bitterly cold January days and nights! From our school forest cameras, we observed
  • a little deer
  • a strolling pheasant
  • a cotton-tailed rabbit
  • a lone coyote prowling
  • gray squirrels having fun in the snow
  • a blue jay
  • a fluffed up red-bellied woodpecker modeling his winter adaptation
  • a junco in flight

Jim Gilbert's Nature Notes, MN

Look for ring-necked pheasants & wild turkeys up in crabapple trees feeding on the fruit. European starlings, cedar waxwings, and over-wintering American robins also relish crabapples. Most summer nesting trumpeter swans remain in Minnesota year-round. We see them in open water areas of the Mississippi & Minnesota rivers and other open water areas, where they feed on water plants, and also in corn stubble fields. Common ravens in northern Minnesota & Wisconsin perform awesome aerial acrobatics, preparing for the mating season.

Lincoln Elementary School in Owatonna, MN

Our kindergarten class has been studying animals in winter and used a track sheet to investigate, read the evidence and make conclusions about what happened.

Jim Gilbert's Nature Notes, MN

Most Minnesota lakes are covered with 15 inches to two feet of ice, but if you head out on one always think of springs, soft spots, and changing conditions. Be careful! With an abundance of walleyes and saugers, plus yellow perch small-mouth bass, and northern pike fishing can be good on Lake Pepin and both up and downstream on the Mississippi River and backwaters. Groundhogs are hibernating underground each in their own burrow, and their internal clocks will awaken them near the end of March, not on Feb 2.

Jim Gilbert's Nature Notes, MN

When driving on country roads in southern and western Minnesota, watch for horned larks, seen in small groups along the road edges. These grayish-brown birds, smaller than robins, fly up as cars go by. They are considered to be the first returning migrants. After Feb 11 the Sun is higher in the sky and concentrating its rays. We also notice that cars parked in the sun warm up even on cold days.

Jim Gilbert's Nature Notes, MN

Listen for house finches singing their warbling songs of spring, and the vocal spring flicker-like calls of the red-bellied woodpecker. Look for striped skunks and raccoons out of their winter sleeping quarters during warm spells, searching for food and companionship. Bald eagle nesting time has begun, and some pairs will return to old southern Minnesota nest sites and begin adding sticks-and a few will begin egg laying this early.

Lincoln Elementary School in Owatonna, MN

What a lucky find earlier in the week when we got a new snow fall! It was fun to see the wind blow the grapple across the fluffy snow.

Student Discoveries:

  • The snow on the ground is fluffy but the falling snow feels poky when it hits my face
  • I feel like I’m in a snow globe
  • It’s a winter wonderland

Wonders and Predictions:

  • Why is it hard when it’s in the sky but the snow on the ground is powdery?
  • I know, I think it rained and then the snow turned to ice. That’s why they aren’t like snowflakes

Jim Gilbert's Nature Notes, MN

Northern cardinals now sing loud and long; they do this to declare nesting territories. Some American goldfinches have begun showing a few yellow neck feathers: another subtle spring sign. It’s time to look for the first eastern chipmunks out and about. Migrating American crows and bald eagles return to northern Minnesota, where deep snow usually covers much of the landscape and offers the best cross-country skiing and snowshoeing of the winter.

Make every Friday a Phenology Friday and Submit YOUR Observations!

Email phenology@jeffersfoundation.org
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