PROJECT BUDBURST: Participants choose a plant or plants to observe, then begin checking their plants at least a week before the date of the average budburst. They are looking for the point at which the buds have opened to reveal visible leaves. Participants report that data, and continue to observe the plant for other events such as first leaf, first flower, and also seed dispersal. Project BudBurst takes the records that participants input, then creates maps of these events across the United States.
WHAT IS PHENOLOGY? The science of phenology is the study of the timing of the life cycle of plants and animals. It focuses on establishing how and why plants and animals undertake processes at certain times of the year, for example when to hibernate, flower, and reproduce. Phenology has a long and distinguished history. In Japan and China, cherry and peach blossom festivals extend back more than a thousand years.
The American Geophysical Union contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.