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SeasonWatch in 2019
Overview
Dear Supporter,

A warm welcome to over 600 new participants joining us and a big thanks to all our supporters for their invaluable contributions in 2019! A concerted effort by our new as well as our seasoned participants, helped us record a jump in the number of trees that were observed and the number of observations, compared to the previous years (see figures below).

We now have over 3,56,423 (1,09,366 added in 2019) observations from nearly 79,065 trees (up from 25,000 in 2018) in our database. In 2019, nearly half of all the observations (57,992 or 53%) come from the trees that were regularly observed through the year (regular observations) while the remaining (51,374) come from the trees that were observed once only (casual observations).

Our main participants are schools, and they remained strong, contributing nearly 77,622 observations from 29,935 trees. Individual participants contributed over 31,744 from 26,027 trees. Together, our school and individual participants observed 131 species in the country.
Clockwise, from top left: From 2011 to 2019, the number of users (category school and individual) that contributed at least one observation, number of observations, number of trees with at least one observation, and number of species having at least one observation.

Trees in 2019


In 2019, nearly 56,000 (up from 20,000 in 2018) trees were observed across the country. Of these, around 4500 were observed regularly through the year and a majority (94%) were observed once (casual observations). See the maps below to know where these trees were. Do notice Kerala's overwhelming participation and comparable spatial spread of regular and casual observations.
Regular observation

>3400 trees observed by schools

>1100 trees observed by individuals

 
Casual observation

>51,000 trees observed in the country

Nearly 80% of these trees observed in Kerala alone
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Mango (Mangifera indica), and Teak (Tectona grandis) were the top most commonly observed tree species in the country. Together, the three species gathered up nearly 30% of all the observations. See table below for ten most commonly observed species.
Tree species

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
Mango (Mangifera indica)
Teak (Tectona grandis)
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera)
Indian laburnum (Cassia fistula)
Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)
Jamun (Syzygium cumini)
Gulmohur (Delonix regia)
Observations

12954
12080
7700
4650
4120
4022
3803
3562
3129
2576
Tree phenology
Our tree phenology data comes from the long-term, repeated and regular observations of the adopted trees, as well as rapid bioblitz events held over a period of a few days, across the country. We can use this data to look at fruiting, flowering, leafing patterns in a species from one year to next, or even compare these events between different regions.

Proportion of trees flowering (open flowers), fruiting (ripe fruits), and leafing (fresh leaves) in 2019 (using regular observations data). The year is divided into number of weeks, and the proportion of trees in a phenophase per week are plotted. Bulk of the data comes from Kerala, our largest contributor.

Mango is a favourite species across the country and its trees are regularly observed in several states. The data collected by our participants shows a clear seasonality in mango fruiting as it peaks in early summer. Flowering happens early in the year with a single peak, closely followed by fruiting. The trees remain evergreen, as over half of the trees seem to be producing fresh leaves at any time.
Clockwise, from top left: Proportion of Mango trees with fruits during 2-4 days long Tree Quests held in December 2018, March 2019, June 2019, and September 2019. These bioblitz data provide a quick snapshot of tree phenology showing spatial patterns across the country.

The data from four bioblitz events, known as the Tree Quests, held between December 2018 and September 2019, shows that the fruiting trees are nearly always present in southern India, while central and northern India see most fruiting between March and June. Mango fruiting peaks in the summer with nearly 45% of trees fruiting in June across the country.
This kind of data can help us record flowering, fruiting, and leafing cycles in different species. Also, multiple year data gathered from several individuals of a species can help detect changes occurring between places and over time in the above events.
Top contributing states
Students from GHSS Arasur, Coimbatore, climbing trees during Summer Tree Quest, 2019

Kerala is the top contributing state with 91,000 observations, almost doubling its own record of 46,000 observations in 2018. Tamil Nadu was the second largest contributing state with over 3700 observation. Karnataka, Goa, and Meghalaya followed, each with over 2000 observations.

Some highlights


A teacher with her students at GHSS Kuttamassery seen exploring leaves in their school campus as part of the education project

Events: We organized three Tree Quests in March, June and September, each 4-days long, and a month-long 'Species of the Month' challenge in December in 2019 (more below). More details on the events and the results can be seen here.

Species of the Month challenge: In December last year, we organized an event to gather information on some species that are either reporting early or late flowering, or change in leaf-renewal pattern during the cold dry season. See some highlights from this event below.





Casual observation using Website: Earlier this feature was available only on the app but is now also available on the website. It is especially helpful for our schools as often times a large number of observations are made by multiple students. These can be easily uploaded together at one go using the website by a teacher.

Offline observations on the App: Users can record observations for their regular trees even when offline. This is useful for users who don't always have good network. Up to 100 offline observations, with one observation per regular tree per week, can be added. These observations get automatically uploaded when the user has network next.  

Delete erroneous casual observation: On the app, users can delete an erroneous casual observation and enter the correct one.

Social Media: Around each bioblitz event, we organized a bunch of fun activities, quizzes, and challenges on our social media pages to popularize trees. Take a look at a few of these activities below. For more, please visit our website where all these activities are available for free download to educators.





Education Project to explore trees: Between July and September last year, we worked closely with students and teachers in 3 schools in Kerala: GHSS (Kuttamassery), Bhavan's Vidya Mandir (Elamakkara) and Nalanda Public School (Thammanam), on an education project that aimed at learning about trees through direct observations and discussions among peers. During 12 weeks, the students explored leaves, flowers and fruits in their school campuses through activities designed to observe them in detail. The sessions encouraged students to ask questions and work in groups. The project was implemented by one teacher in each school and one of our team member who worked closely with the teachers. Needless to say that the students loved spending time outdoors, as well as quizzing one another and their teacher, and sharing their own experiences as well as stories that they had heard from their elders.   


Activity sheets filled by students. In this activity, students explored leaves through drawing using leaf symmetry and join the dots (above) and observing and drawing two leaves they found in their school campus (below)

Popular articles


English

SeasonWatch: Watching trees, tracking seasons. Aapala Paryavaran. By Pooja Pawar

Trees and seasons in a changing world. Voice of Teachers and Teacher Educators. By Swati Sidhu and Geetha Ramaswami (link)

A bygone pastime: Revisiting a the erstwhile practice from our formative years of exploring our natural world through plants around us. Nature in Focus. By Swati Sidhu and P Jeganathan (link)

SeasonWatch: Tracking trees through seasons. iWonder. By Swati Sidhu (link)

Tamil


ஈச்சங் கள் கனவு By P Jeganathan (link)

தாவர நேசம்: பிள்ளைப் பருவத்துத் தாவரங்கள் 
By P Jeganathan (link)

Marathi

चापयाच्या झाडाचे ऋतुमान. Aapala Paryavaran. By Pooja Pawar

Hindi

क्या इस साल समय पर खिलेंगे पदम के फूल? By Swati Sidhu (link)


Please find a list of all news and articles on SeasonWatch on our website here.

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