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Process Notes for the Backyard Phenology Team

The Climate Chaser 

The story of Backyard Phenology's mobile recording studio 

By Sam Graf
Backyard Phenology's Program Coordinator

Monday, October 9th, 2017


The rusted out shell of the silver Boler trailer parked in a backyard in Minneapolis’s Seward neighborhood has become the catalyst for over 600 interviews discussing how climate and places we live have changed over time. Over the course of a few months, the trailer was transformed into the Climate Chaser, a work of participatory art that bridges the diverse knowledge systems required for sustainable community building. Backyard Phenology debuted Climate Chaser at Northern Spark, a Twin Cities all-night art festival, in 2016 and has since become an integral part of the Collectives community engagement efforts.

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A Phenology Walk

Making Climate Change Observations Through Community Engaged Art

By Sam Graf
Backyard Phenology's Program Coordinator

Monday, October 2nd, 2017


The process of designing a phenology walk often involves learning histories, watching how bodies move through a space, and cultivating relationships. What comes out of collaboratively designing a phenology walk can be as minimal as a few white flags placed into the ground, or as elaborate as a series of connected tree houses. What emerges is an invitation for people to observe just a little more.

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Defining Phenology

Tools for recognizing the connectivity between culture, climate, and community

By Sam Graf
Backyard Phenology's Program Coordinator

Monday, September 25th, 2017


Every year there is a day, usually in mid-May where the first monarch butterfly of the year is observed flying in Minnesota. Seeing my first one each Spring fills me with so much joy. Just before the Monarchs arrive the plum trees will have erupted with their white flowers and soon loons will be seen diving in the lake. It is easy to get lost in all of the seasonal changes that happen in a year. Cherries ripening, birds migrating, insects laying eggs and then pupating, flowers opening, and new fruits and vegetables in the market. All of these natural phenomena are a response to climate —sunlight, temperature, precipitation, or wind— and happen at different times of the year in different places.

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