Participating in various Citizen Science projects allows my family to learn about our local landscape while contributing data to long-term science research. We’ve helped with FrogWatch USA, part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, to help familiarize us with our local wetlands through the identification of frog and toad calls. We contribute to Monarch Watch, which is currently focusing on the Spring First-of-Year Sightings. This year we started tracking various plants around our area.
Started in 2007, Project BudBurst is a Citizen Science project relying on volunteers across the United States to monitor native plants at various times throughout the seasons. Participants observe and record data based on leafing, flowering, and fruiting of various plants. Those stages are called the plant phenophases, the observable stages in the plant’s annual life cycle.
Originally spearheaded by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and the Chicago Botanic Garden, Project BudBurst’s mission is to help people get outside to observe how plants change throughout the seasons. Now solely managed by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Project BudBurst continues to monitor the effects of climate on native plants.
All of these various Citizen Science projects help my family feel connected to nature. We are able to fine-tune our observation skills, learn about native plants, and understand how to help protect our environment.
One Adirondack BudBurst partner is The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The Wild Center is tracking plant changes for 10 various species including Common milkweed, Purple coneflower, Wild lupine, Sugar maple. Participants can fill out a single report or regular report. The regular report focusing on everything from habitat, shading, as well as the first flower and full fruiting stages. File a Single Report if you’ve observed one incident in the annual lifespan of a particular plant such as while you are traveling or hiking.
Keep in mind, individuals can contribute to plant observation anywhere. You do not need to be part of an organization to upload your data to Project BudBurst. Just create an account and enter a report. Enjoy!
Photo of Monarch on milkweed used with the permission of Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com.