NATIONAL PARK — Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park.

In an effort to track nature’s calendar, or phenology, volunteers will collect information as part of an important research project tracking seasonal biological data such as plant flowering dates and changes in tree canopy foliage.

Volunteers may adopt plots that are near parking areas or along trails at several locations across the park.

Plots should be monitored at least one to two times per month from the first leaf bud in spring to the final leaf drop in fall, with less-frequent monitoring in June and July at most plots. Previous experience is not necessary.

The Adopt-a-Plot project helps park scientists and visitors better understand how changing weather patterns affect our diverse ecosystem and the seasonal timing of wildflower blooms and fall color.

Volunteers must attend one virtual training opportunity on either Thursday, Feb. 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. or on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This 1.5-hour virtual workshop will include topics like tree identification techniques, fruit and flower identification tips, and data collection protocols

Those interested in this volunteer opportunity should send an email to GRSM_Phenology@nps.gov to register for the training. For more information about phenology research efforts across the country, visit the National Phenology Network at https://www.usanpn.org.