Farewell to Our Phenology Hero!

Dan discussing tree removal for a program in Secrest Arboretum in 2006. Harvested trees were used to build the Discovery Pavilion, funded by Dan Herms and David Nielsen.

You may have heard that Dan Herms (our amazing Pheerless (Peerless!)-Phenology-Leader) is leaving OSU at the end of September. Dan has accepted a fantastic position leading a major research program beginning in 2018.

For twenty years, I have had the pleasure of learning from and working with Dan on many projects, including our Phenology Garden Network. The first time I met Dan (I invited him to speak at a program at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron), I was pregnant with my son Ian, who is now a sophomore at OSU. How time flies!

I know that many of our cooperators know and respect Dan and would like to wish him the best as he moves on from OSU. Please send Dan a card or e-mail with a memory or something you’ve learned from him over the years. Mail to:

Dan Herms, Department of Entomology

1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691

Or e-mail: herms.2@osu.edu

And, y’all better send me a little love the next time you see me, because I’ll be missing my friend Dan!

Dan Herms inspects common milkweed for monarch larvae, 2006.

Pollinator Quick Guides (one-page PDF handouts) Now Available

Five new Pollinator Quick Guides are now available as single page (front and back) PDFs through the following individual links, or find them all at:


Pollinator Quick Guide: What You Can Do to Help Bumble Bees

Pollinator Quick Guide: What You Can Do to Help Honey Bees

Pollinator Quick Guide: What You Can Do to Help Monarchs

Pollinator Quick Guide: What You Can Do to Help Native Bees

Pollinator Quick Guide: What You Can Do to Help Pollinators

English ivy in bloom near Cincinnati

Connie Arnold of Hamilton, Ohio sent me these images of English ivy in bloom on August 9th. This puts the bloom at about 2427 GDD.

If you have access to an old English ivy plant and can inspect for bloom, please do so as the phenological wave moves north over the next few weeks. Send me a picture if you can, along with the date and zip code of the plant and whether the plant is at first bloom or full bloom (one out of 20 buds still closed).

You could also participate in the video monitoring project led by Fergus Chadwick in the UK:


Thanks to Connie for observing the flowering and sending the images!

Attend Bees in Your Backyard on August 5th in Canfield: No Cost to active OSU Phenology Garden Network Volunteers

Learn from author and biologist Olivia Carril on August 5th at the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield.
No fee for active OSU Phenology Garden Network cooperators  to attend! The OSU Bee Lab is covering your registration.
The workshop includes hands-on bee identification using microscopes as well as field experiences with plant and bee experts.
Saturday, August 5, 9AM to 3PM
Sponsored by the The Dawes Arboretum, Franklin Park Conservatory, Mill Creek MetroParks, The Ohio State University Bee Lab, Stratford Ecological Center, and University of Mount Union.
Questions? Please e-mail Denise
We hope to see you and the bees in two weeks in Canfield!
Denise Ellsworth
Ohio State Extension, Department of Entomology

Bees in Your Backyard: Olivia Carril Coming to Ohio in August!

Author and biologist Olivia Carril will travel to Ohio in August to teach four daylong native bee workshops. Each workshop includes hands-on bee identification using microscopes as well as field experiences with plant and bee experts.

Wednesday, August 2: University of Mount Union in Alliance

Thursday, August 3: Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware

Friday, August 4: The Dawes Arboretum in Newark 

Saturday, August 5: Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield

The cost is $65 per person, and includes lunch and handouts. Sessions run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Olivia Carril will also give a free lecture and book signing at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus on August 3rd at 7 p.m.

Click here for more information on the workshops

Sponsored by the The Dawes Arboretum, Franklin Park Conservatory, Mill Creek MetroParks, The Ohio State University Bee Lab, Stratford Ecological Center, and University of Mount Union.
Questions? Please e-mail Denise
We hope to see you and the bees later this summer!

Summer pollinators@Secrest

Calling all Phenology cooperators, Master Gardeners, OCVN’ers and others interested in learning more about pollinators!

Actual pollinators will vary 🙂

Come to Secrest Arboretum on Tuesday June 27th and/or Wednesday July 26th for two pollinator workshops, each 10AM to 2PM. Participants will spend time in the classroom learning about pollinator biology and practicing identification skills, then we’ll head outside to the gardens in search of pollinators.  Both sessions will include bee and plant information, but June’s session will focus on bee identification, and July’s will focus on plants for pollinators. You may register for both; there is likely to be some overlap…but lots of fun in the field and classroom on both days! 

Dates: Tuesday June 27th and/or Wednesday July 26th

Location: Secrest Arboretum, Wooster (Miller Pavilion)

Time: 10AM to 2PM

Cost: $10, payable at the door, but you MUST register here

Please bring your lunch. Dress comfortably and for the weather.

Questions? Please contact Denise Ellsworth at: ellsworth.2@osu.edu

Hope to see you later this summer in Wooster!

Summary of new plants

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend our spring update in Wooster late last month. I’m always amazed and humbled by our awesome cooperators and your continued dedication to the Phenology Garden Network.

A summary of our update can be found here, including the update PowerPoint and links to projects including the Ohio Bee Atlas, red maple study and English ivy study.

Be sure to let me know if you have a mature patch of English ivy (growing up a tree, mature leaves) to monitor this year for date of bloom.

Here’s a list of our 2017 plant additions:

Perennials provided to interested gardens in 2017

Asclepias incarnata Swamp milkweed
Liatris aspera Rough blazing star
Parthenium integrifolium Wild quinine
Symphyotrichum laeve Smooth aster

Shrubs provided to interested gardens in 2017

Cephalanthus occidentalis ‘Sugar Shack’
Cephalanthus occidentalis Straight species
Fothergilla gardenii Straight species
Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Mt. Airy’
Sambucus canadensis ‘Bob Gordon’
Sambucus canadensis Straight species

Thanks, everyone, and be sure to let me know if you have questions, needs or suggestions.



April 27th Phenology Garden Network Spring Update, second call

Carpenter bee on maple blossoms.

In case you missed it, it’s time to register for our spring update! If you’ve already registered, see you later this month!

What: 2017 OSU Phenology Garden Network Update

When: April 27, 2017, 9:30AM to 4:00PM

Where: Miller Pavillion, Secrest Arboretum

Who: All Network cooperators (volunteer data collectors) are invited to attend, new and experienced alike.

Topics for the day:

  • Network data update (perennials and pollinators)
  • About our new Network plants
  • New phenology projects that need you: red maple, English ivy, Ohio pollinator plants
  • A Bee phenology and ID refresher
  • An arboretum walk with Joe Cochran for experienced cooperators
  • Intro to phenology with Denise for new cooperators
  • Plus, Dan Herms (on Phenology-Sabbatical this year!) will cap off our day with a phenology walk.

What you’ll get: besides a chance to learn and network with fellow phenology fans, everyone will go home with a wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), as a thank you for your phenology work!

What your garden could get: for those gardens interested, we’re expanding to offer 4 new perennials and 6 new shrubs (baby small this year). We’re adding 4 new plants to our native perennials, including wild quinine, New England aster, liatris and swamp milkweed. We’re also starting a new project to study pollinator visitation on 3 native shrub straight species vs. cultivars, including buttonbush, fothergilla and elderberry. Data won’t be collected on any of these plants until at least 2018 (and possibly 2019 for the baby shrubs).

What to bring: Your lunch! We’ll have coffee and morning refreshments, but are asking you to bring your lunch this year. We do have access to a refrigerator if needed.

What else? No fee to attend, but please register here so we can plan accordingly.

We hope to see you in Secrest Arboretum in Wooster!


The Seasons Aren’t What They Used to Be by David George Haskell, The New York Times (3/17/2017)

SEWANEE, Tenn. — Sexual energies were loosed early this year in Tennessee, then quashed. In February, spring peepers made my ears ring as I walked through wetlands east of Nashville’s honky-tonks. These frogs were a month ahead of their normal schedule.

But what is normal in a year when the calendar says spring starts Monday, yet the season started weeks earlier for plants and animals? When New York was clipped by a snowstorm last Tuesday, the streets had already been dusted with pollen from early-blooming red maples.

Spring has been particularly hasty and irregular this year, but this is no anomaly. In the latter half of the 20th century, the spring emergence of leaves, frogs, birds and flowers advanced in the Northern Hemisphere by 2.8 days per decade. I’m nearly 50, so springtime has moved, on average, a full two weeks since I was born. And you? We now experience climate change not only through the abstractions of science, but also through lived experience. Continue reading the main story