Autumn adventures

Christine Tansey's picture

As some of you may already know, autumn is not only a season of  stormy rain, abundant apples and increasingly skeletal trees appearing in our woodlands, but of behind the scenes activities for Track a Tree.  One of the things we have been discussing is the possible development of the project over the next couple of years. We’ve also been out and about over the last few months visiting conferences and other events to tell people about Track a Tree.

Excitingly, we (both myself and Ally), attended the 3rd International Phenology Conference in October, this year held in Kuşadası, Turkey. At the event we met researchers working on phenology across the world; from Korea, to Brazil, to Sweden, to Canada. At the conference there were several presentations on phenology recording schemes in different countries. If you are ever curious to see the kind of phenology recording that goes on around the world then have a look at the Swedish, Swiss or US Phenology Networks. It was great to hear about the different projects, and how citizen science has contributed to research in many places. Schemes like Track a Tree continue to be very important in improving our understanding of how the seasons may be affected by climate change.

While in Turkey I also managed to see some interesting European oak phenology, with both Holm oak (Quercus ilex) and Turkey oak (Quercus cerris - pictured below) acorns spotted on a walk.


More recently, I was invited to help run a workshop on citizen science at the Botanic Garden Education Network’s annual conference at Westonbirt - The National Arboretum.  It was my first visit to the arboretum and although the weather was atrocious, the colourful maple and tulip tree leaves made it a bright place to be, even in mist and rain. It was great to talk to people working in education about starting up citizen science projects, and describe the approach we have taken for Track a Tree. We also got the chance to make some woodland crafts, including a small twig reindeer and a leafy dragon, activities I highly recommend!

You may notice that Track a Tree activity on our blog, Twitter and our Facebook page has been quite sporadic recently. Partly this is because we have been busy with events, but partly it because I have had to start focussing on writing up my PhD thesis. As we get more results from the observations that all of our wonderful recorders have sent in, I will write another update, but please forgive the more infrequent posts.  Despite the thesis writing, I’ve still enjoyed the odd visit to various woods around the UK, I hope you have also managed to see some of a glorious autumn.

Lastly, if you’ve not managed to do much autumn recording this year, but are craving a bit more phenology in your life, have a look at the online citizen science scheme called Season Spotter, where you can help classify camera images of the changing seasons.

Good luck!