The National Phenology Network received this year's Shoemaker Award for External Communications in the Internet Product category for their Nature's Notebook website, which encourages individuals, both professionals and volunteer "citizen scientists," to observe local phenology - the timing of of seasonal life-cycle events such as leafing, flowering, reproduction, and migration – as a tool to understanding how plants, animals, and landscapes respond to environmental variation and change. Observers can then contribute their observations in a standardized format, so that the data can be used by researchers worldwide. The judges stated that the Nature's Notebook site is "extremely impressive," and that "It is clear that the developers did substantial research to understand the audience and do user testing before launching the redesign."
The Shoemaker awards recognize USGS products that demonstrate extraordinary effectiveness in communicating and translating complex scientific concepts and discoveries into words and pictures that capture the interest and imagination of the American public. The award recognized the efforts of several SNRE employees and affiliates involved in the Nature's Notebook project, including Jake F. Weltzin, Alyssa Rosemartin, and Theresa Crimmins. See all USA-NPN staff contributors to this team effort on the USA-NPN Staff page.
The USA-NPN has stated in response to the award: "We appreciate USGS for this recognition of our efforts to connect people to science, and are glad to honor the memory of Eugene M. Shoemaker. We rely on many partners for our success, including strong support from the UA/SNRE."