What You Can Do
Help gather LOCAL data to document the effects of climate change on plant growth stages. This is known as the study of plant phenology. Warming temperatures have a direct and an indirect impact on avian, animal, and insect life cycles which affect migration, food sources, nesting and survival.
There is a nation-wide program involving folks of all ages from professional scientists to school children and senior citizens to document these changes over time. It is known as Project BudBurst and is part of the National Phenology Network (NPN). There are similar programs in Canada, the Netherlands, and United Kingdom. China and Australia also have phenological programs.
This project offers a great opportunity for Audubon chapters to involve their members and others through citizen science outreach programs in schools and other community organizations. The easiest way to find out about BudBurst and to get started with data collection is to get on their website: www.windows.ucar.edu/citizen_science/budburst/ Simply click on the link “Steps to Getting Started” found under: “Follow these 5 simple steps to complete your phenological investigation!” Each of the steps has links to more detailed information such as: “plant list”, “identification guides”, “phenophase field guides.”
Don’t forget to register with them so you can report the data and subscribe to their mailing list to receive updates and announcements.The greater the number of people collecting data over a wide geographical area the better and more useful the data will be for documenting the effects of long term temperature changes. It will also be useful in calibrating computer models used to predict these effects.