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The climate cycle

What causes the different seasons? What’s the difference between climate and weather? These are some of the questions that you’ll answer when you participate in our phenology activities.

For this portion of the West Virginia Outdoor Learning Lab, you’ll focus on investigating nature’s calendar by tracking phenological changes at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. You can help us track these changes through basic observation and then recording your data on the Nature’s Notebook website. When you create an account be sure to add The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve as your partner group site. If you’re having trouble finding it or have a question, stop by the WVOLL tent near Bolder Cove and we can help.

Think you’ve got what it takes to track down these species and record your data just like a scientist? Check out the resources below to help you identify some of the plants that we need help tracking.

Merit badge correlations:

Plant Science

Phenology Resources

- WVOLL Wetland Phenology Sign
- Nature’s Notebook (Remember to select The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve as your site!)
- WVDNR Plant Identification Field Guide (pdf)

Phenology Activities

Phenophase Bingo (pdf)
Plant Scavenger Hunt (pdf)

Flower Species Pictures

Blue vervain is an herb with opposite, simple leaves which have double-serate margins, borne on stiffly erect, branching square stems.

Blue Vervain
Verbena Hastata
(Photo credit Zell, H. via Wikimedia Commons)

Foxglove beardtounge features white, two-lipped, tubular flowers borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems.

Foxglove Beardtounge
Penstemon digitalis
(Photo credit Fritzflohrreynolds via Wikimedia commons)

Pickerelweed features purple, small flowers atop a long stem

Pontederia cordata
(Photo credit Fritzflohrreynolds via Wikimedia Commons)

Bird's foot trefoil features small, low to the ground yellow flowers.

Bird’s Foot Trefoil
Lotus corniculatus
(Photo credit Evelyn Simak via Wikimedia Commons)

Daisy Fleabane features a flower with a yellow center and white, string like petals.

Eastern Daisy Fleabane
Erigeron annuus
(Photo credit Fritzflohrreynolds via Wikimedia Commons)

Deptford pink features a small pink flower with four petals with serrated edges.

Deptford Pink
Dianthus armeria
(Photo credit Ksd5 via Wikimedia Commons)

Swamp milkweed is a flower consisting of dense pink flooring, blooms.

Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias incarnata
(Photo credit: Tom D. Schultz via Wikimedia Commons)

River birch features a green leaf with serrated edges.

River Birch
Betula Nigra
(Photo credit: Derek Ramsey via Wikimedia Commons)

American Sycamore features a medium sized, curved, green leaf.

American Sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

American sycamore features a patchy light and dark brown bark.

American Sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

Honey locust features a large leaf composed of many small oval leaves.

Honey Locust
Gleditsia triacanthos

Honey locust features brown bark with a vertical line pattern. 

Honey Locust
Gleditsia triacanthos

Red maple features large, multiple pointed, green leaves.

Red Maple
Acer rubrum