March 19, 2009 | Project BudBurst, in which thousands of volunteers nationwide track climate change by recording the timing of flowering, leafing, and other plant life cycle events, has launched its 2009 field campaign. Now in its second full year, the project is successfully amassing observations from students, gardeners, and citizen-scientists in every state to give researchers a detailed picture of how plants respond to changes in the environment.
A number of new features and enhancements have been added to the project website this year, says Kirsten Meymaris (EO). These include new phenophase field guides, updated plant identification guides, classroom resources, real time mapping with Google Maps, and photosharing.
Participants select one or more plants (wildflowers, trees, shrubs, grasses, and even some weeds) to observe, and begin checking them at least a week prior to the average dates of various phenophases, such as first flower and first leaf. Participants observe their plants throughout the growing season and continue to report selected phenophases. This year, when participants submit their records online, they can view live maps of phenological events across the United States.
Project BudBurst is a collaboration between EO, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the University of Montana, and is hosted on the Windows to the Universe website.