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2008-03-15 - 7:37 a.m.


You can see the Project BudBurst web site at

Or, you can read about the program below:

National Science Foundation Press Release 08-023
Volunteers Across Nation to Track Climate Clues in Spring Flowers

Project BudBurst to provide information on timing of blooms

Cinquefoil wildflowers in Colorado will be monitored by participants of Project BudBurst.
Credit and Larger Version

February 14, 2008

A nationwide initiative starting this week will enable volunteers to track climate change by observing the timing of flowers and foliage. Project BudBurst, operated by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and a team of partners, allows students, gardeners and other citizen scientists in every state to enter their observations into an online database that will give researchers a detailed picture of our warming climate.

The project, which will be launched tomorrow, will operate year round so that early- and late-blooming species in different parts of the country can be monitored throughout their life cycles. Project BudBurst builds on a pilot program carried out last spring, when several thousand participants recorded the timing of the leafing and flowering of hundreds of plant species in 26 states.

The Chicago Botanic Garden and University of Montana are collaborators on Project BudBurst, which was funded with a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The project is also supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Windows to the Universe, a UCAR-based Web site that will host the project online as part of its citizen science efforts.

"As we track the effects of climate change, it's important that we include information obtained by 'citizen scientists,'" said Elizabeth Blood, program director in NSF's Division of Biological Infrastructure. "Project BudBurst will further our understanding of how the biosphere is changing, by bringing local knowledge into our observations."

"Climate change may be affecting our backyards and communities in ways that we don't even notice," says project coordinator Sandra Henderson of UCAR's Office of Education and Outreach. "Project BudBurst is designed to help both adults and children understand the changing relationship among climate, seasons and plants, while giving the participants the tools to communicate their observations to others."

"Project Budburst provides an exciting opportunity for the public, particularly children, to contribute to scientific research on the effects of global climate change on plants," adds Kayri Havens, a scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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