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[maple leaves] Phe- nol-o-gy is the study of periodic changes in plants and animals as they respond to weather, climate, and the seasons. Each spring we anxiously await the first returning robin in the hope of warmer weather. That is a phenological event. It happens every year but the return date depends a lot on the weather. Migration and flowering are two more examples of phenological events.

A phenological calendar is a way to track the events of the seasons as they occur. If you kept track of the same event every year you might learn something over time about changes in climate and in numbers of plants and animals. But, whether you watch for changes every year or only once, it can be a fun way to tune in to the world around you. Consider yourself an outdoor detective as you begin to read clues and predict what a wild plant or animal is likely to do.

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