Collecting Data
Collecting Data

Phenology  – the science of the seasons – is the study of seasonal or periodic bio­logical events such as plant leaf-out and flowering, insect emer­gence, and animal migration. UC natural reserves such as Sedgwick are ideal places to monitor phenology and offer “citizen scientists” opportunities to record what they observe in nature. Data collected at Sedgwick will be used by biologists and climatologists to better understand how seasonality and climate are linked in the natural world.

The Phenology Stewardship Program was initiated in 2007 at the University of California, Santa Barbara by Dr. Susan Mazer and PhD student Brian Haggerty. The effort has since evolved into the California Phenology Project (CPP), an interagency endeavor that has identified 60 high-priority plant species for phenological monitoring across California. These species were selected on the basis of addressing key scientific questions to inform natural resource management of California’s public lands. Some of the CPP’s currently targeted species were selected because they are iconic and charismatic (Joshua trees, California buckeye, live oak, California poppy), whereas some were selected because of their widespread distribution among California landscapes (orange bush monkeyflower, cow parsnip). Some species were chosen because they are subtle harbingers of spring (elderberry, Pacific trillium), while others were chosen because their flowering may signal the true end of summer (coyote brush) or because they support diverse assemblages of pollinators (California buckwheat). At Sedgwick, we’ve selected 6 of these high-priority plant species for phenological monitoring and educational activities.

For more Information:

Coast live oakQUAGQuercus agrifoliaX(link is external)X(link is external)X(link is external)
Common buckwheatERFAEriogonum fasciculatumX(link is external)X(link is external)X(link is external)
CoyotebrushBAPIBaccharis pilularisX(link is external)X(link is external)X(link is external)
ElderberrySAMEXSambucus nigraX(link is external)X(link is external)X(link is external)
ToyonHEARHeteromeles arbutifolia X(link is external)X(link is external)
Valley oakQULOQuercus lobataX(link is external)X(link is external)X(link is external)

Sedgwick’s “Phenology Trail” consists of 3 areas readily accessible on the reserve: the Entrance Gate/Anderson Overlook/ Entrance Rd, Creek Oxbow/Ag Well Access Rd, Field Station/Ranch House/Nursery (see map on below). There are approximately 6-8 plants per area for which volunteers will be collecting data on a weekly basis. Data will be collected by docent teams and is expected to take about two hour’s time. Training for those who are new to this program (which is all of us in 2012!) will be provided as needed.

map of tagged plants
map of tagged plants

For docents interested in participating in this exciting new research and education project at Sedgwick Reserve (and elsewhere in the UC Natural Reserve System) please contact Suellen Stewart by email at or by leaving a message at (805) 686-1941 x 0.

For current Sedgwick weather click here