1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024


Do you live on a campus and have lots of trees around you? Do you enjoy watching trees transform themselves as the seasons change?

Tree phenology is the study of how trees put out leaves, flowers and fruits seasonally, a process linked intimately with the environment and climate change. As concerned citizens, one way of understanding the impacts of climate change is to systematically document the changes in tree phenology across the country.

Would you like to be part of this all-India effort? We are excited to invite you to join the first phase of the Campus Phenology Network, a nation-wide network of educational campuses involved in monitoring tree phenology to understand seasonality and effects of climate change on trees.

Who can be part of this network? 

You can join this network if you

  • live on a campus and love trees
  • want to learn how climate change impacts our trees and contribute to existing knowledge
  • want to learn how to collect, handle, analyze data, write findings
  • want to work collaboratively with peers from campuses across the country

How to participate?

1. Monitor weekly tree phenology for one year

Based on the number of trees that you can conveniently monitor, we have designed three Tree Challenges, each progressively increasing in the amount of effort needed. You can participate in either of these depending on what works for you.

  • Easy 10: Monitor ten trees per species of one or more species from our list for one year
  • Plenty 20: Monitor 20 trees per species of one or more species from our list for one year
  • Tenacious 30: Monitor 30 trees per species of one or more species from our list for one year

We also have two levels of effort depending on consistency of monitoring.The two Consistency Challenges are:

  • Significant contributor: To qualify in each of the above challenges, you will need to monitor your trees for a minimum of 26 weeks in the year
  • Superstar Contributor: You will become a superstar contributor if you monitor your trees for all 52 weeks in the year

The more trees you monitor the better. Why so many trees? We need data from many trees to make sense of their phenology pattern. We will learn about the importance of sample size during data collection in this project. For more details read the sample size explainer below on why we need so many trees.

2. Monitor weekly weather parameters for one year

You will also keep a note of the following weather parameters for your location: weekly averages of Maximum and Minimum temperatures, and weekly total rainfall. For this, you can use any weather app and keep a track using an excel sheet which we will provide during an introductory workshop.

Why do we need to see so many trees?

We are interested in knowing about the phenology patterns of certain tree species. Let’s say we want to learn about Mango trees and their flowering patterns from across years in Kerala. Should we observe a single tree from Kerala? Will that tell us what all the mango trees in Kerala are up to? It’s important to observe or ‘sample’ many trees because just like individual people, individual trees too have their own quirks and they don’t always flower at exactly the same time. This variation in flowering behaviour may be due to the age of the trees, its immediate surrounding, health etc. So, should we observe all the mango trees in Kerala? That’s simply impossible! The number of trees that we need to observe lie somewhere between 1 and all. So how many should we observe to draw scientific conclusions with acceptable accuracy? This number is known as ‘sample size’ and it is very important when we go out to collect data to draw meaningful conclusions. From our experience, we have found that around 30 trees in a location is a good sample size. Read this article by Krishna to know more about the joys and frustrations of handling data and her take on how important sample size was in her quest to know about what mango trees have been upto.

What is the project duration?

This is the first phase of the project. The current duration is one year, from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024

How to join the Campus Phenology Network

You can join the network by filling the registration form before 1st March 2023. We will share further details with you over email.

How can this benefit you?

  • At the end of one year all significant contributors and their colleges will receive a certificate of participation.
  • All significant contributors will also become a part of the SeasonWatch Citizen Scientist Network which will be credited in all publications arising from this data.
  • As a student or educator living in a campus, the CPN will provide you the opportunity to network with other academics through profile pages on the SeasonWatch website.
  • You will also have the opportunity to participate in a capacity-building workshop where you can learn skills such as data analysis, inference and presentation from expert ecologists.
  • The CPN will also be a community and forum to learn more about trees, climate change and the environment.

What would you need to join the programme? 

  • A smartphone with a reliable 4G connection and the SeasonWatch app, freely downloadable on Google Play.
  • A lot of enthusiasm and love for the natural world, and curiosity about local ecology
  • Dedication: Committing to observe trees on your campus regularly for one year.

What happens after you register your interest in the network?

Be part of an Indian-wide network through our communication platform: We will create a Whatsapp group with those who indicate an interest in joining it. This platform will be used for regular communication about the project, which includes accessing help in identifying species and phenophases, getting updates on the project, and connecting with peers on the network. All those who indicate a preference for email over Whatsapp, will receive network updates through emails.

Participate in an Introductory Workshop (second week of March) to SeasonWatch and the Campus Phenology Network. In this online workshop the participants will get to meet one another and learn how to participate, collect and upload data.

Collect your own data: All participants will select and regularly monitor the phenology of trees in their campuses and gather weather data over the course of one year from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024.

Participate in an online Data analysis workshop and analyze your own data: At the end of first year, all participants will have the opportunity to work with the data they have collected and learn skills to analyze the data. Interested participants will also have an opportunity to learn how to write their findings as a scientific manuscript or popular article.

Contact us

If you have any queries regarding the network, please write to us on sw@seasonwatch.in with the subject line ‘Campus Phenology Network’.