Phenology: The intersection of art & science!



the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life.

I learned a new word! I have been admiring several amazing phenology wheels through the Nature Journal Club FB group and found it a very interesting way of noticing a tidbit of nature each day.

Phenology is basically nature’s calendar! Scientists use phenology to track life cycles of plants and animals or the effects of climate over time. NASA’s MODIS satellites in space measure the amount of sunlight reflected from the earth’s surface. We have been using phenology all our lives without even realizing it! We track our health in allergy season, we plan farming crop seasons or home gardens, we track weather events or temperature fluctuations.

A phenology wheel can be created for daily, weekly or monthly observations, depending on how often you want to record your observations.

I created a daily phenology wheel and here’s how you can, too!

It took about an hour to sketch the wheel, but a very enjoyable activity involving drawing and a bit of math!

  1. Using a drawing compass, draw the outer and inner circles. I used a 9″x12″ piece of watercolor paper, but you can draw the circle size according to the paper you have.
  2. Draw 2 straight lines inside the circle, intersecting at 90 degrees to each other, creating 4 quadrants.
  3. To calculate the angles needed to split each quadrant into 7 slices (since February has 28 days, there will be 7 slices in each quadrant), divide the total degrees of the circle, 360 by 28. Each slice will be approximately 13 degrees.
  4. Using a protractor, line it up on the intersection of the 2 lines, mark a dot every 13 degrees on 1 quadrant.
  5. Draw lines from each dot, from one quadrant to the opposite quadrant through the center intersection to the edges of the circle.
  6. Repeat for the remaining 2 quadrants.
  7. Outline the circle and lines with black marker.
  8. Insert numbers for the days of the month.
  9. Decorate with the title, or anything you want to label or describe the wheel.
  10. Each day, observe a tidbit of nature and sketch what you see in the slice for that day.
  11. Fill in with color and a label!

It’s a great way to get outside for a breath of fresh air and observe nature!

#naturejournaling #notice #wonder #observe #phenology #nature

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