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Christine Baeumler,
Backyard Phenology: Tracking Nature’s Cycles in a Changing Climate

Backyard Phenology: Tracking Nature’s Cycles in a Changing Climate demonstrates how art, science, and place-based observations can come together to catalyze awareness of and action on climate change.

Artist Christine Baeumler will team up with scientists Rebecca Montgomery (forest ecologist and head of MN Phenology Network), Nicholas Jordan (agricultural ecologist), Kate Flick (Natural Resource Science student) and Beth Mercer Taylor (sustainability educator).

Backyard Phenology’s Climate Chaser Mobile Lab will make its debut at Northern Spark to record people’s observations and perceptions about our changing climate as well as a place to share their theories of change. Phenology “Passports” will be issued and will contain the schedule of monthly phenology workshops in the Twin Cities. Participants can get their passports stamped when they attend an event.

Over the next year, the project will host a series of seasonal workshops, which will feature experts in topics such as bird language such as animal track recognition. Participants will record observations of phenology data in the lab on the Nature’s Notebook online and will be invited to share their images and audio recordings for inclusion in a multi media artwork, which will be presented at Northern Spark in 2017.


Christine Baeumler explores the potential of art as a catalyst to increase awareness about environmental issues and to facilitate stewardship. Baeumler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota in the area of Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice. Her art practice is collaborative and involves the ecological restoration of urban green spaces with attention to increasing biodiversity, providing habitat, and improving the water quality and the aesthetic dimension of the sites.

Science collaborators:

Rebecca A. Montgomery is Associate Professor in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota and leads the Minnesota Phenology Network. Montgomery’s research interests include forest ecology, plant functional ecology and global change.

Nick Jordan is a Professor of Agronomy & Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities who is particularly interested in agriculture that can produce a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits to society.

Kate Flick is a PhD student and Research Assistant in Sustainability Education, Institute on the Environment. She is interested in engaging justice-based healing landscapes geared toward public education and learning design in changing climates and times.

Beth Mercer-Taylor is the sustainability education coordinator at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Team Credits:

Fabrication of mobile phenology unit:

Troy Gallas and Patrick McKennan, ThreeSeven

Graphic Design: Holly Robins, This is Folly

Additional phenology team members:

Mae Davenport, Associate Professor, Department of Forest Management, University of MN will lead participatory social science assessments and analyses.

Francis Bettelyoun, Native Medicine Garden coordinator, University of Minnesota

Chris Buyarsk, Staff Scientist for citizen science coordination, University of Minnesota

This project has been funded in part by the University of Minnesota Faculty Imagine Fund and The Institute for Advanced Studies Research and Creative Collaborative.


View more Backyard Phenology photos on the Northern Spark Flickr here!


Presented by

Supported by


Mill City Museum Train Shed Adjacent to Chicago Mall


9 pm—5:26 am


Christine Baeumler
(b.) Buffalo
(works) Saint Paul
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