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Tribal Phenology Observations

The NC CSC’s Tribal Phenology Observation activity supports three tribal college and university mini-grants aimed at the inclusion of student phenological and meteorological observation in research on climate impacts. Originating from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s “Indigenous Geography” curricula, this project helps students at tribal colleges explore linkages between seasonality and the living world by making weekly observations of culturally and traditionally significant plants for use in climate change impact assessments. Collaborator Dr. Dan Wildcat will oversee the implementation of this activity.

Students will produce quantitative and qualitative plant observations and meteorological data. Data will be used to make comparisons of phenological observations across different geographies, and help researchers better understand the complex and diverse ways in which environmental changes can be monitored and reproduced in climate modeling.

The program will introduce students to two national observation networks: the USA National Phenology Network (www.usanpn.org) and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (www.cocorahs.org). The program will be administered through the Indigenous People Climate Change Working Group (IPCCWG) housed at Haskell University. This effort recognizes and respects the information rights of sovereign Indian nations. The plants and plant locations will be selected such that uploading phonological observation of those plants into the USA NPN Nature’s Notebook system will not violate any such rights. For any plants observed on tribal lands, it will be up to the student and their professor to ensure that submitting such information is acceptable to the related tribe. Alternatively, it is acceptable within the objectives of the proposed work that plant observation can occur on non-tribal land, assuming the student has legal access to enter and observe plants on that land (e.g. public park land).  

To the extent possible, this effort and all tribal engagement at the North Central Climate Science Center will adhere to the "Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives".

More info on the NCCWSC site