Has anyone here signed up to participate in the Phenology Network program (usanpn.org) to monitor plants selected by Monarch Watch?
I signed up, but I did not find out about the program until just recently so missed a lot of the early growth period for my plants. It took me a couple of days to sort through all the information on the phenology site and find what plants I had that corresponded to what Monarch Watch was looking for and generally organize my record keeping stuff. I picked out 10 plants at work and 10 plants at home to monitor. I got them set up in the database online and printed out the data sheets for my master notebook. I made cute little tags to ID each my plants, laminated them (to help weather protect them), punched a hole on one side and used string to tie the tags to each of the plants I selected. I also tied a piece of bright pink flagging tape to the tags so I can easily spot my plants once the garden starts getting overgrown looking.
I did my first observation this past weekend and found it to be quite easy and quick to do... hardly no effort. Basically it can be done while doing your general garden tending work... just keep a little pocket size notepad to write your notes down on then transfer to the data sheets later. The only glitch I had was that when I went to enter the data from the data sheets into the online database I found that some of the phenophases Monarch Watch is interested in (1st flower bud & 1st fruit) cannot be entered yet. I ended up on deciding to just enter that information in the comment section since it's possible to enter separate comments for the different observation dates online. That way when they do get around to including those phenophases it should be easy enough to just click the info in and erase the comments afterwards.
The only thing I need to worry about now is making sure my co-workers don't snipe leaves from my selected milkweeds to use for caterpillar raising later in the year.