Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Now you see it, now you don't!

Phenology makes a science of witnessing change. Open Phenology makes a practice of witnessing changes together. And through this practice, we may find ourselves reflecting on notions of ephemerality, locality, and interrelatedness.

My parents participated in the project last Friday. As we set off from FlatPak to survey the scene, I introduced Open Phenology as a project that borrows from science but does not purport to be science. 'Scientific truth' is just one of the project's foci. Other objectives include interaction with the public, awareness of our shared environment/ecology, and learning through sharing knowledge and skills.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, courtesy J Jongsma's Flickr photostream
Speaking of skills, having my parents as participants meant I could tap into their ornithological expertise. When I mentioned seeing Kinglets at Loring Park on May 3, my dad said they'd be gone by now, but we can look forward to their passing through again in the fall. (Click the image below to enlarge a graph representing Ruby-crowned Kinglet sightings in Hennepin County throughout the year.)

e-Bird histogram data for Ruby-crowned Kinglet observations in Hennepin County (2007-2011)
There's an intrinsic delight in noticing the ephemeral and being in the right place at the right time. I look forward to sharing this experience with members of the public this summer. If you're a person who hopes to find yourself in the right place at the right time, join Open Phenology by being at the FlatPak House on Fridays at 10 am.

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