Project Bud Burst
Reported May 2011
DENVER (Ivanhoe Newswire) --If the possibility of climate change has you concerned, you can help do research even if you are not a scientist. In fact, thousands of citizen-scientists are contributing just by watching their own backyard.
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By profession, Jim Krugman is a civil engineer. But his hobby and passion are plants.
“So when I saw an article in the paper about the budburst program. I thought, oh, I think I will try that. I think I will sign up for it and see what it’s like,” Jim Krugman Project BudBurst Volunteer, told Ivanhoe.
“This movement is called ‘citizen science,’ where we have people that may not have advanced training in ecology or botany or whatever field of science of interest but they can make useful observations that scientists do and can use,” Sandra Henderson, Project BudBurst director, told Ivanhoe.
Project BudBurst tracks phenological stages (stages when leaves or flowers first appear) of all plants but the ten most wanted are easiest indicators.
“We choose America’s ten most wanted plants so we could focus attention and get the largest number of observations possible on plants that are of great interest to scientists. These plants are all relatively easy to identify and occur in most parts of the country,” Henderson explained.
Scientists say when compared to historical data this information confirms spring is occurring earlier.
“Maybe to a gardener that is wonderful news that their tulips come out earlier but what we are really troubled by is different plants and animals are able to change. So now you are changing all the relationships and that is where it gets quite worrisome,” Paul Alaback, Forest ecologist at Project BudBurst told Ivanhoe.
Spring comes about 10 days earlier, but for the citizen scientist it is just one more reason to garden. If you would like to be part of project bud burst, check out their website to sign up. No science background is required.
The American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
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UCAR Education and Outreach
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