Living on a lake, or regular visits to your favorite lake, lead to an understanding of the natural cycles of life around the water. Harbingers of spring around a lake are very different from those we follow further inland. Diaries and observations of those who have lived on lakes for many years have become very important in the quest to understand how our climate is changing and what it means for life along the shore in the years to come.
The internet has made it possible for all of us to share our individual observations with scientists and researchers, locally and nationally. These shared observations are amazingly powerful and scientists are using them to identify trends in climate and ecology that speak directly climate change. Whether you have been making observations for years or have an interest in learning how you might start, the links below can help you find a place to share what you see.
- Ice-out: the VT Watershed Management Division wants to know when your lake opened – http://vtwatershedblog.com/2015/04/24/welcome-back-open-water/
- Plants respond to weather and weather is changing – Project Budburst – http://budburst.org/ – uses observations by citizen scientists to track how plants are responding to climate change.
- The US Phenology Network – https://www.usanpn.org/natures_notebook – collects observations about plants, insects, and animals as they change their behavior in response to climate.
- The Cornell Laboratory offers many opportunities to share your bird observations. Project Feeder Watch – http://feederwatch.org/ – is one. They also have a great on-line on-line bird guide – http://www.birds.cornell.edu/onlineguide/
- The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network – http://www.cocorahs.org/ – is tracking precipitation across the nation with daily reports submitted by citizen scientists across the nation. Their daily maps can be eye-opening.