USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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OSU Phenology Garden Network

  The OSU Phenology Garden Network consists of 39 gardens located throughout Ohio, and one garden each in Kentucky and Minnesota. Each garden contains identical plant material consisting of 17 common trees and shrubs and 15 perennial plants, the blooming sequence of which spans the growing season.    The Network is a collaborative research and education effort directed by Denise Ellsworth and Dr. Dan Herms that involves numerous OSU Master Gardener programs, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists (Master Naturalists), local parks, schools, arboreta, and other partners.  At each site, volunteers engage in the age-old practice of tracking plant bloom and linking these phenological events with insect and other pest activities, as well as using the gardens as demonstration and teaching tools for gardeners, nature lovers and professional horticulturists. Data are entered via the Network website (; the website correlates bloom events with statewide weather station calculations of degree days.   For seven years, volunteers have collected data on bloom time from these gardens. The results demonstrate that bloom sequence is consistent from location to location, and that bloom phenology is an accurate indicator of pest phenology. This has allowed for the reduction of improperly timed pesticide applications. The garden sites have also been used to study Asian lady beetle populations, and will be used to study native pollinator populations. This model of volunteer training and involvement can easily be modified and used to engage citizens in the collection of data and dissemination of scientific results, leading to active participation in the scientific process.
Geographic coverage: 
Ohio, plus one garden each in Kentucky and Minnesota
Taxonomic groups: 
Flowering Plants
Contact Name: 
Denise Ellsworth
Contact E-mail:


The Ohio State University, Department of Entomology
1680 Madison Ave
44691 Wooster , OH
United States
Ohio US