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What is Phenology?

Phenology is the science of the synchronization or timing of various natural events both in the plant and animal world as they correspond either to the various seasons or certain times of the year. Plants and animals respond to environmental cues such as temperature changes, amount of sunlight or day length or precipitation changes.

Why are phenological observations important to the Menominee Nation? 

The Menominee have used nature’s calendar for hundreds of years due to the fact that many cultural practices,  ceremonies and rituals have been centered around such phenological events as the change of seasons, ripening of berries, and bird/animal/fish migrations or spawning times. One example is when black ash bark is harvested for basket making which usually coincides with the ripening of wild strawberries.  A change in this phenological event has already been observed by the black ash bark harvesters. ​

The Menominee have also named the monthly full moon cycles after certain phenological events. For example, April is the Sugar Making Moon, May is the Budding Moon, June is the Strawberry Moon, August is the Blueberry Moon, September is the Rice Threshing Moon and October is the Falling Leaves Moon.

Common phenology terms





View blog posts about phenology here: phenology blogs

Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/research-2/phenology/

Learning Path

About the Path There is a walking path that winds throughout the CMN Keshena campus, including about a half mile section that runs along the East side through a mixed northern hardwood forest, an old field forest succession, and a wetland edge. Dubbed the “Learning Path”, CMN faculty, students, and SDI staff have worked to …

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Phenology Plots

The College of Menominee Nation phenology plot project is the result of a collaboration with University of Minnesota and CMN. The purpose of this project is to monitor twelve indicator species plants with cultural significance to the tribe. Under the guide of the lead technician, students collect environmental data from plant sites including temperature and …

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