Today I signed the girls up to be “BudBurst Buddies” so they can act as citizen scientists by observing the natural world in our backyard, taking notes, and learning to send in their data to the scientists who are crunching the numbers. The girls each adopt a tree or shrub in our yard and record their observations at four points during the annual life cycle of the plant. The idea is to track the environmental changes we are seeing such as early leafing and blooming. ‘A’ adopted an apple tree and ‘H’ adopted a lilac shrub. They answered questions about their tree and shrub and each drew a picture of what it looks like right now. I like the idea of getting to know our trees and shrubs and observing them. I hope my girls come to like it too.
The program seems easy to put into place in our home: it was easy to sign up and the questions about the tree and shrub were easy to answer, prompting the girls to look at and think about their tree. I can see doing it with younger children and older children too. There’s an adult version on the site as well for anyone who wants to engage in a little more straighforward observation and record-keeping.
‘H’ drawing her lilac bush.
‘A’ studying the apple tree (I’m told it’s a macintosh)