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Leading Citizen Scientists As They Track the Pulse of Life
Jake Weltzin.
Credit: NSF

This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

As the first executive director of the USA National Phenology Network, Jake Weltzin is a pioneer in the growing citizen-science movement. The network brings people and groups together to monitor climate change impacts on plants and animals in the U.S. These volunteers contribute data concerning life cycle events such as leafing, flowering, nesting, foliage changes, hibernation and migration. "Phenology is really the pulse of what we see out there in the natural world every day," Weltzin explains. In May 2012, the 5-year-old network received its one-millionth volunteer record. Its phenological data has served as the basis of many scientific papers on changes in the timing of seasonal events. Below, Weltzin talks about the value of NPN's work and aspects of his life as a scientist. He loves the "every day excitement" of his work, he says. "I'm probably very lucky in many ways. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping at night because I'm excited about going into work the next day."

Name: Jake Weltzin
Institution: USA National Phenology Network
Field of Study: Ecology, Environmental Biology

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