An extension of the research and education missions of the Arnold Arboretum, initiatives for citizen science offer a great opportunity for the visiting public to directly participate with scientists in research projects focused on our living collection of plants. Citizen science has grown nationwide over the past decade, inviting the public to help collect data in projects ranging from bird species censuses to the collection of plant phenological information. This unique method of data collection builds communities of interested participants around issues of conservation and the environment while fostering an enhanced understanding of the scientific community and the natural world.
Did you know that some plants at the Arnold Arboretum leaf out as early as late March while others wait until early June? The timing of the spring appearance of leaves in trees, shrubs, and vines has rarely been recorded, but holds great importance in studies that track changes in ecology and climate.
Professors Richard Primack from Boston University and Charles Davis from Harvard University are conducting a census of leafing out times among plants in the living collection of the Arnold Arboretum from mid March (beginning on or about March 20) to early June. Volunteer data collectors are contributing their observations to advance this study while learning more about the Arboretum’s plants and their use for science. To participate, please email Professor Primack.