Involving community members and volunteer corps in scientific discovery and decision-making builds their capacity to understand and mitigate climate change impacts in their environment. The USA National Phenology Network’s Nature’s Notebook plant and animal phenology observation program provides a framework for volunteers, student groups and other citizens to understand climate change impacts and provides the basis for communicating these impacts to others. The authors describe how communities use Nature’s Notebook to (1) ask and answer scientific questions about climate change impacts on the environment, (2) inform natural resource conservation and management in variable climates and changing environments, and (3) provide a science engagement opportunity with the goal of improving public understanding of phenology, environmental change and the outdoors.