Why Study Cherry Blossoms?

In many parts of the country, the arrival of cherry blossoms is a sure sign that spring is here. These beautiful and showy trees captivate the senses with their magnificent blooms and soft scents.

The tradition of cherry blossom festivals in the United States began in Washington D.C. in 1927 and now many communities across the U.S. host festivals as well. Since so many people are out and about enjoying these trees, spring is a great time to focus attention on understanding seasonal change. Through Cherry Blossom Blitz, you can help us understand the seasons while enjoying the scenery at the same time. And that is why the first ever Project BudBurst Cherry Blossom Blitz field campaign was born. You can participate in the Cherry Blossom Blitz from March through April. Locate a cherry tree, grab a Cherry Blossom Report Form, and tell us what your cherry tree is doing!

What makes the Cherry Blossom Blitz unique?

Cherry Blossom Blitz runs from March 1st to April 30th and is designed to get people outside collecting continental scale cherry blossom data for science. It is the only targeted, continental scale campaign of its kind targeted to the collection of cherry blossom data by the public for research. Last November, scientists studying cherry blossom phenology used data from Project BudBurst to test their models about changing blossom times. The Cherry Blossom Blitz will provide scientists and the public with even more data to track changes in cherry tree blossoms.

Why is Cherry Blossom Blitz important to science?

One of the most frequent requests we get from scientists is for enhanced geographic coverage of observations. The more people participating across the country, the better the geographic coverage and the more useful the data is to our scientists. Scientists can use your data to look for general trends, to see if the data can provide ground-truthing to better understand remotely sensed data such as that taken by satellites or cameras, and more.

Why should I participate in the Cherry Blossom Blitz?

You, the Project BudBurst observer, are the critical part of this campaign. As our 'eyes on the environment,' your observations are making a difference in education and science. You are the basis for our success and why Project BudBurst is getting so much attention from both the scientific and educational communities. If you are new to Project BudBurst, we hope you will take some time and explore our website and join us in observing plants throughout the year. Cherry Blossom Blitz is just a sampling of what you can do with Project BudBurst!

How much time does it take to participate?

Cherry Blossom Blitz was developed with your busy schedule in mind. We've made it easy to register, make an observation, and report that observation online in about 10 to 15 minutes. Simply download our Cherry Blossom Report Form, find a cherry tree to observe, and report the status of the tree on any day from March 20-April 30. For example, if you're looking at a Kwanzan cherry tree on March 31st and its flowers are blooming, decide if you think the flowers are at the early, middle, or late stage of blooming and check the appropriate box on your Single Report form. Then, go inside, login to budburst.org, and report your observation!

Where can I track the observations people are reporting?

We will be highlighting cherry blossom observations on our Facebook and Twitter (@PBudBurst) pages. Keep checking back to see how the campaign is going!

How many observations are you hoping to get?

The goal of this campaign is to collect at least 500 observations from around the country. Check out our Results as we update the observations coming in. Of course, we still want you to make regular PBB observations as we already know that data is very useful for scientists and educators!

I'd like to provide feedback about the Cherry Blossom Blitz.

Great! Your feedback is just as important as your observations. Your participation, input, and comments will help us refine future Single Report based campaigns. If you have thoughts about how we can improve this campaign, send us an email at budburstinfo@neoninc.org with the subject "Cherry Blossom Blitz".

Photos courtesy of Ashley Bradford, Dennis Ward, and Paul Alaback