Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bud Burst

Is climate change affecting when flowers bloom, when fruit appears, when trees bud?

You can help researchers answer that question. Project BudBurst is asking you to report when buds and flowers first appear on trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

While the plants in your own backyard by themselves won't determine long-term trends, when tracked with thousands of plants across the nation a clearer picture emerges.

Participating is easy--simply follow the instructions on BudBurst's web site and be sure to report your observations on-line.

"Citizen-science" projects are a great way to help scientists, but they can also help you better understand the nature that is around you--in your backyard, around your neighborhood, in a city park. The Great Backyard Bird Count has been highly successful in tracking bird population and migration trends, for instance.

Now it's time to watch your backyard trees. While spring may seem a long time from now, keep an eye out on those trees, and give researchers a helping hand. --Matt Miller

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