Get the Data

Want to explore the data even more? Download our datasets here!

What are historical datasets?

Phenology has been monitored and recorded in Minnesota for over 100 years. These records include observations on plants (when the tulips emerged), birds (when the first loon arrived), and other species (when the spring peepers were first heard).  Most of these records have been written down by hand and kept for the personal benefit of the data collector. As a result, many of these interesting data sets have disappeared with the owners’ death. We are collecting historic datasets from local naturalists. We are using data with at least 10 years of continuous data. Datasets are digitized , and shared on this website.  

Why are historical datasets important?

There are several reasons why historical datasets are important to have digitized. Here are a few of those reasons:

  • Historical datasets allow us to look back into the past and understand how species once responded to local conditions.  
  • It also gives us a phenology baseline for common species so we can compare current observations with those made in the past. This allows us to record and assess any changes.
  • We can assess the future vulnerability of species by understanding the changes that have occurred in the past.
  • Historical datasets also allow us to estimate when certain events are likely to occur, which helps phenologists and natural resource managers know when to anticipate an event.
  • By digitizing these datasets, we are able to preserve an endangered Minnesota resource.
Information about our data

These historical datasets were donated by several passionate phenologists from across the state of Minnesota. For security purposes, we’ve chosen to give the original datasets in our database a number which corresponds to the dataset owner. If you would like additional information about these data please contact us.

Why we are doing this project

We were funded by the State of Minnesota’s Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) to compile these historical phenology datasets and to promote new phenological observers. The goals of this project is to understand species vulnerability to Minnesota’s changing climate.


If you are interested in donating your historical datasets or you want access to our data, please email us your name, organization, a description of why you want these data, and what interests you about the project.

View a table representation of the data here.

*Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).