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Before You Launch: Quick Start Guide Part 2

Guide to Building a New York Phenology Project Monitoring Site


Crucial Preparation Tasks:


  • Be clear about your target audience (Community? School groups? Both?)


  • Consider how many people you want as “core observers” and decide how to recruit them


  • Know if you have a particular scientific question beyond the New York Phenology Project focus on plant–pollinator interactions (and whether you are monitoring both plants and pollinators/animals)


  • Decide whether other activities and content areas will link with this project (i.e. Will you plant a pollinator garden? Will you build bee hotels? Will you engage other organizations to help you get related projects going? What ecological concepts or educational standards will you address?)


  • Before you set a launch date make sure you have adequate time to:

    • choose species (See Quick Start Guide, Part 3)

    • choose specific specimens or locations for plants you will monitor

    • mark plant specimens or locations ­– since it is difficult to ID plants in winter, do this in another season if possible

    • plan one or more trainings for your participants (See Quick Start Guide, Part 4)


  • Make plans to:

    • train participants multiple times each season

    • stay in frequent email contact with participants

    • organize gatherings intermittently


  • Establish a well-defined budget for materials (i.e., large sign < $200, Smaller herbarium signs ~ $10-$20 per sign, Small tags and flagging: $10-$20 for 60+.) or find sources for donations. Be prepared to replace damaged items and consider whether items will need to be replenished every year.



You’ve got a basic outline of what you want to do…

Now build your action plan for the first year:


Can your staff prepare to launch your project or will you need to engage a consultant to help get you started?


Do you want to launch as a pilot with your staff gathering data or do you want to engage the community right away?  


What do you need to do to get your staff//board ready to take on this project?


Set dates! 

Date of launch:              

Date of first training:

Date of follow up training: 

(Remember to allow time for all the tasks and decisions that have to happen before launch.)


What needs to be done to get the site ready?


How many species?_____   How many individual plants tagged?:


What staff members will monitor? ______ How many participants do you want to engage?_____


Long-term strategic goals:


First year accomplishment objectives:


How will you assess your project’s success?


Other Quick Start Guides ... 

Questions to Ask: Quick Start Guide Part 1

Choosing Species to Monitor: Quick Start Guide Part 3

Training and Leadership: Quick Start Guide Part 4


Complete Quick Start Guide (to view or download)

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