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Paleontological Research Institution, Ingrid Zabel


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 22 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, Central & Western NY


YouTube Video

Trees Awake #5: Climate Change and Phenology

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  • This video explains the relationship between climate change and tree phenology, or the seasonal patterns of tree leaf-out and leaf drop. 
  • Using graphs and research to support her argument, the host explains how increases in temperature in the Northeast have led to earlier shifts in seasonal patterns. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video references many graphs and scientific papers that have confirmed the shift in the local climate.
  • The narrator highlights the importance of citizen science for collecting data and monitoring the effects of climate change. 
  • Links to more information can be found in the video description.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should already have a basic understanding of the difference between weather and climate. 
  • Students should know how to read a graph or they should receive guided support in examining the data before watching the video.


  • Teachers can print the graphs from the video and ask students to explain the data and how the shift in temperature is affecting wildlife.
  • Students can examine more climate projections and graphs of the changing climate of New York state by clicking on the first link in the video description. 
  • The video description provides a link to instructions for a citizen science project from Nature's Notebook that teachers can use with students.
  • Other resources on this topic include this article about plants and animals that are confused by climate change and this video on the effects of climate change on agriculture in New Jersey.
Scientist Notes
This 4-minute video presents the impact of climate change on trees and leaf cycles and presents examples of phenology, which is the study of cyclical and seasonal natural phenomena. The video presents how we can observe changes in tree and leaf cycles to understand our changing climate. This video is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • HS-ESS2-4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
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