Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Submitted by Cornell Plantations

Ithaca, NY -- The effects of global warming may be evident right in your own
backyard, and Cornell scientists need your help.

You are invited to join Project Budbreak -- a "weather-spotters" network for
plants -- to observe and record the first day of flowering for certain
plants in your backyard. Last year over 150 people from all over central New
York recorded more than 500 observations. The project welcomes both new and
returning volunteers this year.

Some facts:

- The annual average temperature right here in the northeastern United
States has increased by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 30 years and is
expected to continue to rise.

- Because of the temperature increase, lilacs have been flowering up to one
week earlier than they did a few decades ago.

- Increasing temperatures are affecting many of our native plant species.

Climate change may be impacting our native plants by changing the timing of
bud break, leaf emergence, flowering, fall coloration, and leaf drop.
To find out whether increasing temperatures are causing detrimental
ecosystem changes, Cornell researchers are asking people to join their
plant-spotter network.

The project is being coordinated by David A. Weinstein, in the Department of
Natural Resources.

"Recording this information is easy and fun, and takes only a few minutes a
week," says Weinstein. "We've made it possible to quickly enter your
observations into an easy-to-use website, including videos you can watch
that demonstrate how to make observations. We'll be putting all kinds of
information, maps, and tools on the website about what is happening to
plants here in central NY, so you'll be able to learn as we learn."

Once you've signed up, simply pick one, two, or more plants growing outside
your house and start watching each day for the first signs of flowers
beginning to form, branches greening up, and leaves starting to spring
forward. You'll begin to see a whole new world emerging right before your

To join Project Budbreak, please visit the projects's website at

For more information, contact David Weinstein by email at daw5@cornell.edu; or by phone at 607-351-4214.

Submitted by Cornell Plantations

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