The College of Menominee Nation's Sustainable Development Institute is currently in the process of "morphing" the campus "Learning Path" into a new and improved "Phenology Learning Path". The reason for this metamorphosis is so that anyone and everyone may follow the phenological stages of various plants and trees along the path as they respond to climate change.
Why are phenological observations important to the Menominee Nation?
The Menominee have used nature's calendar for hundreds of years due to the fact that many cultural practices, ceremonies and rituals have been centered around such phenological events as the change of seasons, ripening of berries, and bird/animal/fish migrations or spawning times. One example is when black ash bark is harvested for basket making which usually coincides with the ripening of wild strawberries. A change in this phenological event has already been observed by the black ash bark harvesters.
The Menominee have also named the monthly full moon cycles after certain phenological events. For example, April is the Sugar Making Moon, May is the Budding Moon, June is the Strawberry Moon, August is the Blueberry Moon, September is the Rice Threshing Moon and October is the Falling Leaves Moon.
History of CMN SDI phenology learning path
From Fall 2015 - Summer 2016, Cathy Munson, SDI Intern (funded by the NE CASC), coordinated the journey to develop the CMN "Learning Path". This journey included:
What are other indigenous PEOPLES doing in regards to phenological research?
Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas has been conducting collaborative work with the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (NC CASC) and the USA National Phenology Network and the Indigenous Phenology Working Group in the development of Haskell's Phenological Trail. The process has included following the "Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives".
cmn SDI Phenology Learning Path Map
What is PHenology?
Phenology is the science of the synchronization or timing of various natural events both in the plant and animal world as they correspond either to the various seasons or certain times of the year. Plants and animals respond to environmental cues such as temperature changes, amount of sunlight or day length or precipitation changes. Read More >>>
HOW IS CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTING PHENOLOGY?
National Phenology Network
Do you want a citizen science project that will enable you to track phenological changes in your neck of the woods? Join the USA-National Phenology Network Nature's Notebook and learn how to observe, record and track vegetative seasonal changes either on the CMN SDI Phenology Learning Path or create your own observation deck in your own backyard! Perhaps, one day, if you become an astronaut, you can even monitor the earth's phenology from space such as the greening and browning of vegetation as it changes across the planet season to season (or, if you're not an astronaut, there are ground stations).
Check out the link below.
Photos from the trail
Initial growth, flowering and dried versions of Queen Anne's Lace (top row), Wild Bergamot (middle row) and Mullein (bottom row)