Friday, February 29, 2008

Project BudBurst

During our gatherings of Leafing Through the Pages, the book discussion group of the Sterling Morton Library, we often discover and discuss various “citizen science” projects and activities. (“Citizen science is a term used for a project or ongoing program of scientific work in which a network of volunteers, many of whom may have no specific scientific training, perform or manage research-related tasks such as observation, measurement or computation.”) These volunteer groups observe, measure and count everything from monarch larva to dollar bills to earthquakes to roadkill! The scientific community benefits because research objectives are accomplished more feasibly than would otherwise be possible. Plus, an interested and engaged community is nurtured and developed. Descriptions of and opportunities to participate in some interesting current projects can be found at:
I recently read about a new project, Project BudBurst, started in 2007. A national partnership, this project will be monitoring primarily native tree, shrub and flower species. For selected plants, participants are encouraged to record phenological details such as:
  • Budburst/First Leaf
  • Full Leaf
  • First Flower
  • Full Flower
  • End Flower
  • Seed or Fruit Dispersal
The project benefit? Volunteers will help gather and compile valuable environmental and climate change information around the United States. The benefit to you? What a terrific opportunity to visit natural areas, make and record your observations and contribute to the understanding of our native flora!

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