Recommended for ages 9+

Green-Wood is part of a national study on phenology that YOU can participate in!

Phenology is the study of the annual life cycle events of all plant and animal species. These are usually marked by the changing of seasons.

Read on to see how you can become a Citizen Scientist on one or more visits to Green-Wood. This visit can, and should, be repeated multiple times!

Note: This visit requires you to enter through our Main Entrance to access the Valley Water study site. 

Curriculum Connections:

● Next Generation Science Standards:

■ 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect Earth’s resources and environment.
■ MS-LS1-5. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.

● NYC Science Scope and Sequence:

■ S6b Records and stores data using a variety of formats, such as
databases, audiotapes, and videotapes.
■ S6c Acquires information from multiple sources, such as experimentation, and print and non-print sources.
■ S6d Acquires information from multiple sources, such as print, the Internet, computer databases, and experimentation.
■ S6e Recognizes sources of bias in data, such as observer and sampling biases.
■ S7a Represents data and results in multiple ways, such as numbers, tables, and graphs; drawings, diagrams, and artwork; and technical and
creative writing.
■ S7b Argues from evidence, such as data produced through his or her own experimentation or by others.
■ S8b A systematic observation, such as a field study.


● Phenology tracker sheet and map for Valley Water. Print one for each person interested in collecting data, or for each person with a Nature’s Notebook account.
● Green-Wood’s phenophase photo guide .
● Optional: a pencil, binoculars*, a magnifying glass, a camera/phone, water, and snacks!

Before your visit:

● Read about our phenology project together as a family, or older students can review it alone. Discuss what phenology is, and why studying it matters. Talk about how you’re going to go track phenophases of certain trees at Green-Wood, and then share your data online.
● Review Green-Wood’s phenophase photo guide. Cross-reference this guide with the map of trees that are around Valley Water, and focus on what you might see on those trees. Talk about what you expect to find happening with the trees during this time of year. Think about how the weather has been changing lately. Do you think certain phenophases have already happened, or won’t have happened yet? Write down your predictions.
Create a free account on Nature’s Notebook so you can contribute any data that you collect at Green-Wood.
● Download our phenology tracker sheet and map for Valley Water to use on your visit. These will not be available printed on site.

During your visit

● Dress in comfortable, closed-toe walking shoes, and bring weather-appropriate layers. Keep in mind it is often a bit windier in the Cemetery than on the streets.
● Visit Valley Water is marked on the map on the phenology project story map.
● Use your phenology tracker sheet to record your observations. Check your phenophase tree guide to make sure you’re tracking the right things.
● Compare your results with your family members. Make sure you all notice the same phenomena. How do your observations compare to the predictions you made?
● Please note: there is another phenology site in Green-Wood, Vista Grove, but the trees will be harder for younger kids to explore. If you do want to explore this site as well, you can download the phenophase tracker here (it’s more complicated). The site is located in the middle of the Cemetery, and you can find it on the map on the phenology project site.

After your visit

● Enter the data you collected into Nature’s Notebook.
● Explore data that other Citizen Scientists have collected. What trends do you see? How is climate change impacting the life cycles of trees in urban areas?