A Central Minnesota
Minnesota Phenology
This book is meant to be a
companion to our daily Phenology
discussions and chalk drawings that
begin our class period.
Phenology is the study of the different
Plants, Animals and Fungi that live
here with us, and how their behavior
and activity changes as the seasons
change.
It is my hope that my students have developed a greater
understanding and appreciation for their natural
surroundings. It has become my favorite part of each day to
discuss a different organism and also to hear the excitement
from students when they report a sighting or even better, to
hear that they have shared what they have learned with their
parents or friends while out in the woods.
I believe that kids need to spend more
time outside in unstructured activities,
and it is sad to see how disconnected
many have become from nature.
Hopefully through the covering of
Phenology, my students will feel more
compelled to strengthen their
connections to the natural world.
This book is far from a complete field
guide or nature journal, but I hope that
it can encourage students to continue
to learn and develop a love for nature
and the world they live in.
Phenology in the Classroom
20 years ago, a friend of
mine gave me a copy of
Larry Weber's book,
"Backyard Almanac", and it
completely changed the
way I teach my classes.
Ever since then I have
made a point to incorporate
Phenology into my classes.
We begin every single class period
with a discussion about a specific
organism that is observable in
Central Minnesota (accompanied
by a chalkboard drawing) and
typically this leads to a discussion
of several connected topics with
my students.
In the past we have done individual
Phenology Journals (right) and at
the end of each month we watch a
video that I have made of the
different flora and fauna around
the Little Falls area.
These mini-lessons have not
only covered and reinforced
every Biological topic, but
have also been the one
thing that comes up most
frequently (and favorably)
when talking to former
students.
Contents
Coping With Winter.................5
January Discoveries ................6
Owl Pellets ....................................7
Nuthatches ...................................8
Snowy Owls ................................ 9
Bracket Fungi ...........................10
Woodpeckers ............................11
Maple Syrup ..............................12
Signs of Spring ........................13
Spring Wildflowers ...............14
Catkins .........................................15
Warblers .....................................16
Yard Weeds ................................17
Wasps and Hornets ...............18
Do Not Touch ............................19
Red Oak Acorns ......................20
Killdeer ........................................21
Bird Nests ...................................22
Metamorphosis .......................23
Pond Plants ...............................24
Nature's Oddities ...................25
Minnesota Reptiles ...............26
Bird Beaks .................................27
Butterfly vs Moth ...................28
Invasive Species ......................29
Sphinx Moths ...........................30
Not What You Were Told....31
Galls ............................................32
Macroinvertebrates ............33
Edible Nature ..........................34
Spiders ........................................35
Mayflies .....................................36
Leucistic Birds ........................37
Minnesota Orchids .............38
Ticks .............................................39
July Roadsides ......................40
Turkey Vultures .....................41
Life Under a Log ....................42
Carnivorous Plants ..............43
Dragonflies ...............................44
Mullein ......................................45
Dog Day Cicada ......................46
Purple Wildflowers .............47
Winged Ants ............................48
Noctural Animals .................49
August Vines ...........................50
Seed Dispersal ........................51
Yellow Flowers ......................52
Fall Sightings .........................53
October Mushrooms ...........54
Ballooning Spiders ..............55
Linden Loopers .....................56
Lichen ..........................................57
Dealing With Winter ...........58
Coping with Winter
January Discoveries
Owl Pellets
Nuthatches
Snowy Owls
Bracket Fungi
Common Woodpeckers
Maple Syrup
First Signs of Spring
Early Spring Wildflowers
Springtime Tree Catkins
Spring Warblers
Common Yard Weeds
Wasps and Hornets
Do Not Touch!!
Red Oak Acorn Development
Killdeer
Common Bird Nests
Complete Metamorphosis
Monarch Butterfly
Familiar Pond Plants
Nature's "Oddities"
Minnesota Reptiles
Bird Beaks form = function
The shape of a birds beak
can tell you what they eat.
Butterflies compared to Moths
Invasive Species
Sphinx Moths
Not What You Were Told
Galls
Pond Macroinvertebrates
Edible Nature
Common Spiders
Mayflies
Leucistic Birds
Central Minnesota Orchids
Ticks
July Roadside Phenology
Turkey Vultures
Life Under a Log
Carnivorous Plants
Common Dragonflies
Mullein
Dog Day Cicada
Purple WIldflowers
Winged Ants
Nocturnal Animals
Late August Vines
Seed Dispersal
Yellow Fall Flowers
Fall Sightings
October Mushrooms
Ballooning Spiders
Linden Loopers
Lichen
Dealing With Winter in Minnesota
Some Common Phenology events
to watch for each year
The first returning Robin of the spring
The first Dandelion to bloom in your yard
First Red Winged Blackbird male singing
Lakes completely free of ice
First Chorus or Spring Peepers heard
FIrst Sandhill Cranes you see or hear
First Baltimore Oriole to visit Jelly Feeder
First bat sighting
First Mosquito to land on you
First Cardinal heard singing at dawn
First Thunderstorm of spring
First Ducklings hatch
First Alfalfa cut from fields
Strawberries and Raspberries ripen
First Acorns falling from trees
The last Hummingbird to visit your feeder
The return of the Cedar Waxwing flocks to feed
on tree fruits
First frost on your lawn
The first Junco to appear in the fall
Record the dates of these events and compare from
year to year to see how similar they are.
Front and Back cover photographs courtesy of Don Kaddatz
Make Your Own

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