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Cynthia Loring MacBain: Calling citizen scientists

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Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Calling citizen scientists

When my husband and I were living in upstate New York and trained in the Cornell Master Gardeners Program, we were introduced to “Project BudBurst,” a program for citizen scientists. Its purpose is to engage ordinary citizens to track plant phrenology as the climate changes, while other scientists are tracking the behavior of insects.

If you participate, you will be asked to mark off an area of native or perennial plants with a hula hoop or rope, and the program will help you establish longitude and latitude of that area. Then, you will record when the sprouts appear, when they leaf out, bud and bloom.

The importance of having widespread involvement of people living in various areas of the state, the country and the world cannot be stressed too much. You see, if the insects that pollinate a particular plant do not hatch out at the same time the plant blooms, the plant will not be pollinated. You can see how this relates to farming as well as our dependence on our native plants.

I urge you to visit “Project BudBurst” online and get involved. One caution: This needs a commitment of 10 years or so, so it can’t be a school project unless the school administration is committed to keeping it going.

Cynthia Loring MacBain
Southampton