✨ Kathy’s Testimonial
“Personally, my involvement with EwA is deeply meaningful. I enjoy sharing it with others and spreading the awe I feel about our ancient natural systems. I feel fortunate that I found the opportunity to volunteer with and contribute to Earthwise Aware.”
As an Earthwise Aware (EwA) citizen scientist in the Boston-area Middlesex Fells Reservation, I am an NPN-certified Local Phenology Leader. I lead an EwA team that collects phenology data using Nature’s Notebook. We visit three phenology sites in the Fells weekly, from first bud break in late March until the American witch hazel goes dormant in early December. In the winter, we continue to visit our sites monthly. We also help as needed around our survey area with arthropod monitoring, invasive species recording, records of spring ephemerals, and more. The three regular observers on our team choose to monitor together as often as we can. We love sharing our work and the deep familiarity we have with the area. This model of observation and collaboration is duplicated throughout EwA’s phenology program at five additional locations.
We do a lot of wandering as we take our walk between phenology sites. The walks are slow because we have learned to observe closely, and we are constantly distracted. So we look at arthropods, flowers, fungi, galls, and invasive species along the way. We listen and look for birds and hope to see other animals. These frequent visits to the forest reinforce my feeling of awe and respect for the rich ecosystem, its interconnectedness, and the endless adaptations of its plant and animal life.
Earthwise Aware also mentors and educates interns, new volunteers, and visitors to its programs and explorations. We talk about ethics, biodiversity, phenology, and the scientific importance of collecting standardized and validated data. Sometimes the mentoring lasts a couple of hours; other times, it lasts months. I enjoy contributing to intern mentoring and the events where participants learn about the complex natural history and the biodiverse species that inhabit the Fells. Most of our guests say their eyes have been opened to the abundance, biodiversity, and significance of the natural areas they frequent. Interns participate for a season and want to return whenever they are able. EwA is welcoming, and the outreach effort is genuine. Helping EwA with these mentoring and education events is always rewarding.
Personally, my involvement with EwA is deeply meaningful. I enjoy sharing it with others and spreading the awe I feel about our ancient natural systems. I feel fortunate that I found the opportunity to volunteer with and contribute to Earthwise Aware.
– Kathy McGlathery | December 29, 2022
EwA Participatory Science Leader since 2019