The Tahoe Institute for Natural Science engages in multiple science, education, and outreach programs to promote greater appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of the natural resources of the Tahoe region. The organization received a 2013 Community Fund Grant from the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation and used the grant for its Sierra Seasons Project.
“Our Sierra Seasons Project is a phenology program that will engage the public as citizen scientists in collecting data on the timing of natural history events such as the timing a plant develops leaves, flowers, seeds, etc.,” said Kirk Hardie, Co-Executive Director for TINS.
Hardie said Chris Hogle was the first awardee of the University of Nevada, Reno, Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology (EECB) Ph.D. program's Community Conservation Internship Program, which paired a Ph.D. student with a local non-profit conservation organization.
Hogle worked with TINS to draft a proposal for the internship, which provided $5000 for the student. Half of the funds were provided by the EECB program; half were provided by TINS. To kick-start this brand new project, Hogle worked directly with TINS staff, the National Phenology Network, and other partner organizations to create a network of citizen science phenology monitoring trails in the greater Tahoe area, Hardie said.
Robin Jones, Parasol AmeriCorps member serving at TINS, is picking up where Hogle left off, solidifying the partnerships established in 2013, refining the data collection and entry methods, and developing a program to engage area schools in a modified version of the Sierra Seasons Project. She is working to implement additional phenology trails in 2014.
To learn more about TINS, visit www.tinsweb.org.