Phenology Project: Final Entry

1:30PM
29ºF, 100% cloud cover, no wind, sleeting lightly

What a good place to end – a photo of my site under fresh snow. We got around three inches last night. Deer and squirrel tracks everywhere, and the incredible silence of snowy woods. This temperature is actually very comfortable and pleasant for walking around, as long as you dress right, though I know some people from warmer parts of the country who would have a hard time believing it.

Sunrise today at 7:22AM and sunset at  4:11PM, giving us eight hours and forty-nine minutes of daylight, a thirteen minute loss from last week. This is actually our earliest sunset of the year, or close to it. (My friend in Hungary recently mentioned that the sun there is setting at 3:40PM now, so I’m not going to complain.) For reasons I don’t fully understand, after hovering around its earliest point for about a week the sunset actually starts getting later before the solstice, but the days keep getting shorter for a bit longer because the sunrise is getting later at a faster rate than the sunset.

Making a conscious effort to track the North Woods’ transition from summer to winter through this project has been interesting. It’s made me more aware of the shifts in the weather and the amount of daylight, the departures of the birds, things like that. Having seen both what some of my classmates have done for their own projects and what other bloggers interested in phenology do has given me ideas of what I could do differently, and while I expect some sort of phenology posts will continue in the spring they’ll be in a different format. In a way, this entire blog is a big phenology project itself – outside of my “official” weekly post, I’ve written about the changing colors of the maples and tamaracks, the first snow, the migrating warblers, etc. etc.

Thanks again to my readers for keeping me company during this little experiment. You guys rock. Whatever grade I end up getting, I’m happy with what I’ve gotten out of this, and that’s what matters.

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5 thoughts on “Phenology Project: Final Entry”

  1. Congrats on your project. It turned out great.
    I am totally intrigued by your comment above, how the sunset is getting later already, but sunrise is getting later faster than the sunset. I’m going to look it up and read more about that. I always assumed the sunset keeps getting earlier before solstice. That’s cool.

    hope to see more phenology posts even though your project is over.

  2. I have really enjoyed reading your phenology reports…and have been scouting for a local place that I can do something similar. (More social media encouraging outdoor activity? I’d never heard of phenology before your first post.) Seems like a good way to get in touch with what is happening in a new area. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wow, then you make the third person who will have been directly inspired by this to start some sort of phenology project of their own. Indeed, this is exactly the kind of point I want to make to people who think social media can’t be used to promote environmental education!

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