I was half awake listening to my favorite radio show LOE, Living on Earth and happened to hear about Project BudBurst. LOE is on at 6:00 am on Saturday so I'm usually asleep and just catch bits of the show as I go in and out of somnolence. It was fortunate I was awake for this part of the show or I would be in complete ignorance about this program.
Project BudBurst enlists citizen scientists (you) to observe and record various events in your garden or (neighborhood?) ..."taking careful observations of the phenological events such as the first bud burst, first leafing, first flower, and seed or fruit dispersal of a diversity of tree and flower species, including weeds and ornamentals."
"Last year's inaugural event drew thousands of people of all ages..." "The citizen science observations and records were entered into the BudBurst data base. As a result of the pilot field campaign, useful data was collected in a consistent way across the country so that scientists can use it to learn about the responses of individual plant species to climatic variation locally, regionally, and nationally, and to detect longer-term impacts of climate change by comparing with historical data. Due to the enthusiastic response and robust participation in the 2007 we have expanded the Web site features for Project BudBurst in 2008!"
If you scroll down on the LOE website to Project BudBurst and click on it, there's a transcript of the segment. Or you can go directly to the Project Budburst site for more information.
The 2008 project just started YESTERDAY! February 15th.
I think this would be a fun thing to do especially when plants are beginning to bud and flowers will be bursting forth soon.
My readership is small so I would encourage all who read this and who have their own blogs to do a write up. This way we can reach as many gardeners as possible. The more input the project has the more accurate the picture of how global warming is affecting the growth of plants.
P.S. I just registered on the website. There are specific plants on their watch list. These were chosen because they were easily identifiable to most people but you can add your own plants as well. It was interesting to find the exact location of where I live (longitude and latitude) by using the UCAR EO Geocoder. You just type in your address and the Geocoder spits out your long. and lat. I guess if you had a GPS receiver it could give you the same information but with more accuracy and even give you the correct elevation. I had to do a Google search to find out the average elevation for my town.
Project BudBurst is a collaboration of the following institutions and organizations:
Chicago Botanic Garden, http://www.chicagobotanic.org/
National Phenology Network, http://www.usanpn.org/
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, http://www.ornl.gov/
UCAR Office of Education and Outreach, http://eo.ucar.edu/
Windows to the Universe, http://www.windows.ucar.edu/
University of Arizona, http://www.arizona.edu/
University of California, Santa Barbara, http://www.ucsb.edu/
University of Montana, http://www.umt.edu/
University of Wisconsin, Madison, http://www.wisc.edu/
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, http://www4.uwm.edu/
Plant Conservation Alliance, http://www.nps.gov/plants/
USDA Forest Service, http://www.fs.fed.us/