About Sunlight and the Seasons
Robin in snowstorm North American Bullfrog oirole Crocus
How do seasonal changes in daylight affect plants and animals?

Report Monthly

Track Daylight
Report your photoperiod to the map on the 20th of every month, and on the Equinox and Solstice. More...

Track Signs of Spring
Report signs of seasonal change to the map.

Track Seasonal Change
Observe the natural world closely. Record data, take photos, and make drawings. Look for patterns of seasonal change, and note webs of connections. By studying the timing of seasonal changes, students think like scientists who look for clues about how climate and other factors affect living things.

Share Your Observations
The observations you contribute to Journey North become part of a permanent database. Scientists can use Journey North data to monitor how living things are responding to changes in climate.

How Seasons Change Ecosystems
Sunlight drives all living systems. Seasonal changes in sunlight affect the entire web of life:

Fall: Energy from the sun decreases. Temperatures drop. Plants die back or go dormant. Less food is available to animals. Some migrate, some hibernate, and others rely on other physical adaptations.

Spring: Energy from the sun increases. Temperatures rise. Plant growth increases. Migratory animals return. Those that eat plants appear first, followed by their predators — and so on up the food chain. Watch the food chain rebuild as the season progresses.

Phenology: The Seasonal Timing of Life Cycle Events

The phenology of a dandelion

Phenology is the study of the seasonal timing of life cycle events. You are studying phenology when you record the date a certain plant grows, a tree's leaves emerge, an insect hatches, or a migratory bird appears on its nesting grounds. The dates on which these happen each year are affected by factors such as daylength, temperature, and rainfall.
How to Track Photoperiod

Your Observations

Your Historic Records