NEON broke ground on its first two sites this week, marking the official start of observatory construction. To commemorate this historic moment, NEON held two groundbreaking events at the sites. The first groundbreaking event was conducted at the core site for Domain 1, Harvard Forest, in Petersham, Massachusetts. The second event was conducted at the core site for Domain 3, Ordway-Swisher Biological Station, Melrose, Florida. Both sites are now officially under construction. While NEON constructs its full network of field sites, science, engineering and project staff continue to develop and test methods and protocols for data collection. The Airborne Observation Team just completed its first test flights with a fully-integrated set of instruments. A flight campaign to confirm ground-based measurements can accurately be scaled to airborne measurements will take place at Harvard Forest in August 2012. In addition, this summer several field crews are conducting differing types of field sampling in Domain 10 and Domain 3, so that sampling methodology and samples can be calibrated and adjusted for consistency.