What is Phenology? Phenology is the discipline of recording and studying life cycle events as they play out through seasonal and inter-annual variations. Phenology records can help us understand plant and animal responses to climate change.

What is Open Phenology? Open Phenology is a series of experiences and writings dedicated to chronicling, sharing, and celebrating natural phenomena occurring in the Walker Art Center's vicinity. The project's watchword, "WITNESS :: CHANGE :: TOGETHER," speaks to my intention to positively transform the way we perceive our environment. By focusing on ephemeral biological phenomena, I hope to encourage reverent stewardship of nature by re-enchanting our relationship with it. How you can follow Open Phenology & find out more:

A view of Walker Open Field
Photo by Walker Art Center
Why "Open" Phenology? The project is nominally and philosophically related to Walker Open Field. Through the summer months of 2010, I watched as the museum and the community activated the field by generating and exchanging ideas related to “the commons.” Given Open Field’s emphasis on the outdoors, it seemed intuitive that someone would assume the role of naturalist (or, in my case, amateur naturalist). In May 2011 I set out to examine the Walker's immediate environs through the lens of phenology, intentionally framing natural phenomena as subject of investigation, conversation, and sensitivity.

Project Intentions and Background: While Open Phenology borrows certain methodology and motivation from science, it is a creative pursuit. Its approach is subjective, intentionally non-authoritative, and at times whimsical, with built-in opportunities for participation and spontaneity. Open Phenology's goals include:
  • Engaging the public in outdoor experiences through acts of shared focus and knowledge-sharing
  • Increasing awareness of (and reverence for) wildlife in an urban setting
  • Empowering participants to develop the skills of a naturalist
Open Phenology's virtual domain is this blog and its geographic focus is the Walker Art Center's campus and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.