Turnaround time: River Rats report!

Well folks, the time has come. For eight-plus years weve been dispensing phenological wisdom, but we think youre ready to spread your own wings. So consider the tables turned — we want to hear from you! Let us know what you're observing in the natural world and we'll publish your observations in upcoming Mississippi Messages.

Wait, what is that you say? But I dont even really know what 'fee-knowledgie' is! Sure you do. We bet you observe something interesting in the natural world (urban yards, skies and waters included), almost every day, you just may not realize it. Phenology is simply the seasonal changes that occur in nature; events tied to biological time. So if you see a wild turkey, that may not be a phenological event in and of itself since they're here year-round, but if you see a male turkey displaying his feather fan, thats an indication that their mating season has began, which only happens for a brief period each year.

Phenology writings often note the first occurrence of an event — bloodroots starting to bloom, chorus frogs starting to sing — but thats not required. So have at it. Go out, observe and tell us what you see!

Submit your observations, including the date and location, by selecting our names — either Karen Schik, Ecologist and Project Manager, or Tom Lewanski, Conservation Director — in the dropdown "Category" list on our online contact form. Feel free to also suggest a link to a good picture or two.

We look forward to posting your submissions in the next Mississippi Messages!