LPL Certification Course

The USA National Phenology Network’s Local Phenology Leader Certification Course is designed to help you establish a Nature's Notebook citizen science program. It is most appropriate for those interested in developing long-term phenology datasets and long-term engagement programs (not just one-time opportunities) using Nature's Notebook. The course is online and interactive; participants work with a cohort of others across the county and with USA-NPN Outreach and Education Staff to gain the skills need to develop a program plan, recruit volunteers, collect observations, analyze observation data, and collaborate with community partners. 



    1. You will learn how to create and implement a sustainable long-term Nature's Notebook phenology monitoring program that lasts for more than 2 years.

    2. If you successfully complete this Course, you will be recognized as knowledgeable about the USA-NPN monitoring and programmatic protocols and are able to train others. A flag in our database will indicate you are a "Certified" Local Phenology Leader enhancing Quality Assurance of the National Phenology Dataset. Your achievement will be publicly recognized on our website.

    3. Join a community of other leaders, some of whom are just getting started and others who have been monitoring with volunteers for over 10 years. There are monthly meetings available for you to ask questions and get fresh ideas to help you with your programs.


    1. Define phenology and the importance of phenology to scientific research
    2. Use Nature’s Notebook online science program to keep track of phenology observations 
    3. Explore the phenology protocols for plants and animals and the resources available through Nature’s Notebook for making observations
    4. Demonstrate how to set up and facilitate a Group monitoring site in Nature’s Notebook
    5. Synthesize information about a potential phenology monitoring program
    6. Develop a programmatic approach to initiating, maintaining, and evaluating a sustainable multi-observer Nature's Notebook program.
    7. Identify solutions for common barriers to participation and the sustainability of a phenology program involving volunteer management
    8. Construct content to engage new observers in phenology monitoring 


    In addition to learning how to use the Nature's Notebook online system you will be required to create one of each of the following, which will help you get started at your site:

    1. Program Planning materials to help you develop a sustainable program
    2. An original Phenophase Photo Guide to be used as a supplemental guide for your monitoring program
    3. A creative piece, such as a Nature's Notebook advertisement video, an introductory powerpoint presentation to be used for training your volunteers, or an original brochure or flyer to advertise your program


    This is an all online, interactive, 10-week (approximately 60-80 hour) course.

    The cost of the course is $55, which in addition to the Certification, includes a copy of the Botany Primer and a Nature's Notebook Certified Leader name tag. The $55 fee is non-refundable.

    Each week will include a combination of background readings, videos, and an exploration of the Nature's Notebook website and its resources.  In order to receive a Certificate of Completion with 80 hours of Continuing Education Units, and receive some USA-NPN gear, you must satisfy the following requirements:

    1: Participate in each weekly discussion to demonstrate your competency.

    2: Each week you will be required to participate in one hour-long Online Meeting, with peers and USA-NPN Communicate and Connect Staff, to share ideas, ask questions of the experts and celebrate what you've learned. Meetings are on Fridays at 1 pm PT. You must attend 7 out of the 9 scheduled online meeting sessions to receive your certification.

    3: Submit your three Major Course Deliverables.


    The instructor-led course occurs during the Spring and Fall seasons. We will be also be introducing a self-paced course in 2023. If you are interested in joining a future cohort, please fill out the interest form below, and we will contact you when the next application round opens. 


    Fill out the Interest Form