Dear SeasonWatch supporter,
In this newsletter, we are very happy to share a video where you can listen to our teachers and students from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Meghalaya talk about what excites them about trees, and what motivates them to be citizen scientists. Hear children speak about their favorite species, and their experience of growing up with trees, and teachers talk about the many benefits of going outdoors and spending time observing nature.
Observing trees and nature can not only help us understand how the climate is affecting our world but can also be therapeutic. We share two recent articles published by our team members on these topics. Also, find details for our upcoming and first-ever beginner-level workshop to tree-watching and a bioblitz event on the cards.
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In conversation with Citizen Scientists
In 11 years of its existence, SeasonWatch has received participation from thousands of citizen scientists, and most of them are students and teachers from across the country.
Citizen scientists from SeasonWatch spoke at a plenary session in the recently held CitSci India 2021 conference on their experiences with observing trees. Here is the video where we asked them a series of questions. Listen to the young children talk about their favorite trees and their teachers explain how watching trees contributes to forming a deeper connection with nature, among many other things. Watch it if you are looking for a spot of warm sunshine on a rainy day
Mango Mangifera indica is a beloved tree in India. People are proud of their local varieties and come summers nearly everyone is waiting to relish the raw and ripe fruits in an assortments of preparations through out the country. Our citizen scientists are making astute observations on flowering and fruiting among these very special mango trees and are reporting a shift in the timing of these events. Krishna Anujan takes a deep dive into the thousands of observations on the species in our database to investigate the mystery behind these patterns and what drives them. She finds that while mango trees begin to flower as early as December, peak flowering happens anytime between January and April, with a large variation. She also looked at how rainfall might be driving the flowering among trees and finds that trees and climate are certainly linked but in complex ways than we currently know or understand. Read her intriguing and entertaining article in The Wire-Science here.
Importance of nature therapy is being understood and appreciated even more since the current pandemic affected our world. Spending some time looking at the lives of plants, insects, birds around us gives us opportunities to connect to a whole world outside of our own internal landscape and it is perhaps a better one to indulge in. Noticing subtle signs of seasonal change such as receding of summer flowers and appearance of monsoon blooms, emergence of mushrooms, and hovering dragonflies tells us nature is functional even when we are not. If you enjoyed this summary and read Marathi, you can read the complete article by Sayee Girdhari in the Wire Marathi here.
Social Media Highlights
Are you a tree lover who wants to learn about trees but feels overwhelmed when tree experts use the terms ‘native species’, ‘exotic species’, or ‘invasive species’? Or you want to plant some trees in an area but don’t know how to decide which species to plant? Or you simply want to know some common trees in your city. We have been creating trivia and posting about all this and more on our social media handles. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to know more.
A Beginner’s Guide to Tree-watching
Are you interested in learning about trees but don’t know where to start? In this workshop, participants will get an introduction to trees and begin connecting to trees. We will play fun games, learn some important ways to start identifying plants, and also look at some interesting ways to observe trees. The registrations for the current workshop are now closed but if you are interested, please do visit our events page for more details. We will have similar workshops in future and we hope to see you there!
We will be organizing a bioblitz event during November, 15-28. More details will be posted on our events page and on our social media handles soon.
Mango flowers by Sridhar Rao via Wikimedia Commons
A boy making bubbles from a leaf by P Jeganathan