By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties
I’ve been taking part in an OSU Extension program called Oregon Season Tracker (OST) for about five years. OST is a citizen science program where volunteers keep track of rainfall and plant phenology (seasonal growth patterns) and submit their records to national databases. OST also connects natural resources managers, landowners, educators, and others in the community with researchers and their science. At our office in St. Helens, we have an approved rain gauge which we try to check each morning, and a phenology “garden” consisting of two large Douglas-fir trees and some native shrubs.
When I first got involved in OST, my motivation was practical. I thought that having some consistent record of weather and phenology patterns would ultimately be useful in my work in Forestry & Natural Resources Extension. I wasn’t quite sure exactly how it would be useful. But I figured that since weather affects trees in many ways, something would come of it; and even if not, I would be helping scientists with THEIR research questions. Continue reading