Friday, July 4, 2014


I must give a hat tip to Johanna Roose over at New Under the Sun for turning me on to this citizen science project. BudBurst is a NSF sponsored plant watching citizen science project. Like many citizen science projects, you get to decide how involved you wish to be with the project. You can file a one time report, or commit to a long-term, periodic reporting on a single plant. This is another site that requires you log in to submit reports.

They do various campaigns throughout the year. Right now (June/July) they are running a summer solstice, what are the plants doing during the summer? In Sept/Oct there will be Fall into Pheneology, which should catch the change from summer --> fall.

The report forms are based on what type of plant are you observing: wildflowers, deciduous trees, evergreen trees, evergreen bushes, or grasses. The hardest parts will be
  • knowing the common name, but if you know Google you should be fine!
  • knowing your latitude and longitude, this a little tougher.. there are free apps for smartphones that will give you your exact GPS coordinates. And some cameras tag your picture so you can always shoot a snapshot and then pull the GPS off the image. This might also be helpful if you are going to make your report later so that you can keep a record of the plant.
After that it's very simple, answer a few questions about the state of the plant's, buds, flowers, leaves, color of leaves, etc. Submitting the report is a breeze, just click the bubbles and then hit submit.

One of the really neat things about BudBurst is they have an entire education section. This education section includes free classroom implementation guides and additional activities. I highly recommend you check out the grade block your kids are in for some really fun and mostly simple plant science related ideas. I plan on doing a few with Boo when he gets home! And if your kids do science fair, they might even stumble upon an idea.

I hope you'll get out into nature, take a moment to smell the flowers... and then make a BudBurst report on them! I'd love to hear about your experiences too, so please share some stories with me in the comments! Happy plant hunting :)

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