Thursday, April 3, 2014

Calling Citizen Scientists

If you live in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, the New England Leaf Out Project (NELOP) is seeking your help, particularly if you live in the north country. NELOP is collecting very simple data — the date of the first sign of leaf out date for eleven common species of deciduous trees. Check out the NELOP list for a tree in a place you visit regularly, and then observe your chosen tree(s) every couple of days for the first signs of leaf out. Submit your observations, including information about the tree’s environment here

NELOP is cooperating in this research with the National Phenology Network and Project Budburst. Phenology is the branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena, such as the date when leaves bud. Projects such as the Leaf Out Project and Project Budburst are compiling data to determine whether events such as leaf out, flowering, fruiting, and leaf fall are occurring earlier than they did in the past due to warming temperatures. These projects are recruiting citizen scientists to help them in their efforts.

If you have a favorite tree that did not make the NELOP list, visit Project Budburst  where there are 88 common species of deciduous tree from which to choose. Our new American Hornbeam (Carpinus carolinianadoes not appear on this list either, but there is another option. We are signing up to gather data throughout the growing season by downloading a generic form

American Hornbeam, Spring 2013

Do you live outside New England? Would you rather observe something other than a deciduous tree? There are plenty of other opportunities for you! Project Budburst is also seeking data on Wildflowers, Grasses, Conifers, and Evergreen Trees and Shrubs — both one-time and all season observations — from all over the country.

Trees will be leafing out any day now in Connecticut. I’ve downloaded my data entry sheet from Project Budburst and I’m ready to start spring leaf peeping. I’m psyched to join the National Phenology Network. How about you?

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