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Chicago EcoFlora Project


Thank you to all who participated in our EcoFlora project by submitting observations. You can continue reading on this page to learn what our EcoFlora project focused on. Learn about our work with other partner gardens, New York Botanical Garden, Denver Botanic Gardens, Desert Botanical Garden, and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, at ecofloras.com. Thinking of starting your own EcoFlora project? Check out our EcoFlora toolkit as a guide. We were able to share the toolkit at the Botany 2022 Conference, the American Public Garden Association 2022 Conference, and in the American Public Garden Association Magazine. Contribute to the longest running Budburst project here.

Help us track native and non-native plant species in Chicagoland

Now more than ever we need to understand urban flora-both native and invasive species. The Chicago EcoFlora project is collecting observations of plants in Cook County, Illinois to learn more about local plant life and contribute to conservation planning. With your help, we will collect data on important native species and troublesome new invaders that call our city home. This project will inform Chicago Park District, the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and other land managers about native plants that need protection and invasive species that need control. Each month we post an EcoQuest, where we ask you to find and report particular species of interest.

How to observe and report:

It’s easy to participate. Just follow these easy steps:


Create your Budburst account

Or simply login to get started with the Chicago Ecoflora Project.


Report your observations

Submit your Phenology Observation on any plant or search for targeted species highlighted in the monthly EcoQuest below and post your findings later.


Snap a photo

Take a picture with your handheld device or record your observations on a field report form.


Submit your data


Anywhere in Cook County, Illinois! If you are visiting select Chicago Parks or Forest Preserves of Cook County, you can receive an activity backpack with our EcoQuests, plant ID guides, datasheets, and more.

Want to learn more about a specific plant? Search our database of Budburst plants here.

  1. Broadleaf Evergreens Observation Sheet
  2. Conifers Observation Sheet
  3. Deciduous Trees and Shrubs Observation Sheet
  4. Grasses Observation Sheet
  5. Wildflowers & Herbs Observation Sheet

Chicago EcoFlora is modeled after the New York EcoFlora project and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

See the Results from the 2020 EcoQuests.

See the Results from the 2021 EcoQuests.

See the Results from the 2022 EcoQuests.

Past EcoQuest Challenges

February EcoQuest

Sniff out skunk cabbage and find creepy creepers.

See the Challenge

March EcoQuest

Search for signs of Spring and beat back buttercups.

See the Challenge

April EcoQuest

Bluebells ring in spring and be gone Bradford pear.

See the Challenge

May EcoQuest

April showers bring May wildflowers, banish bush honeysuckle, and this dame is trouble.

See the Challenge

June EcoQuest

Pumped for purple flowers and search out swallowwort.

See the Challenge

July EcoQuest

Find milkweeds for monarchs and knock out knotweed.

See the Challenge

August EcoQuest

Search for blazing stars and push out porcelain berry.

See the Challenge

September EcoQuest

Know your New England aster and slash silver grass.

See the Challenge

October EcoQuest

Help find the last of the ash and banish burning bush!

See the Challenge

November EcoQuest

Observe blooming witch-hazel and eliminate oriental bittersweet.

See the Challenge

Do your part for our planet. Join Budburst today.

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