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A project of the Chicago Botanic Garden


Ideas From Other Educators

Are you looking for more ideas of how to incorporate phenology into your courses? Learn how faculty around the country are using Budburst in their classrooms by checking out their quotes below.

If you would like to get in touch with one of the faculty below, or if you're using Budburst with your undergraduates and would like to share your ideas and/or materials, email us at info@budburst.org.

Dr. Sandra Davis

  • Assistant Professor of Biology

  • University of Indianapolis, IN

  • Course(s): Plant Biology

"I have my students in my Plant Biology course use Project BudBurst to monitor trees on campus. Students learn to use dichotomous keys to identify trees using winter twigs. They then work in groups and are given a set of three trees that they must identify, determine height, and map location. They monitor the trees and make regular reports to Budburst. At the end of the semester, the lab groups pool their data to compare phenology of the different species."

Dr. Erin Spear

  • Affiliate Faculty, Department of Biology

  • Regis University, Denver, CO

  • Course(s): Introduction to Environmental Science Lab

"Since the spring of 2017, my students have contributed observations to Budburst and utilized existing data. In pairs, students observe labeled trees on campus. To facilitate accurate phenological data, students will be provided with species-specific guides to the phenophases (text descriptions and photos). Semester to semester, students observe the same 10 tree species and, in most cases, the same individuals to build a temporally extensive dataset. Beyond data collection, students also gain experience with the scientific process by plotting downloaded data. As a class, we focus on a single, seasonally-relevant phenophase of a single tree species, Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), which is both common in Colorado and has adequate observations. The students are asked to identify factors contributing to the spread of the data, calculate the yearly and cumulative change in the timing of a phenophase, and articulate the big-picture relevance of their investigation via an abstract."

Dr. Terri Hebert

  • Assistant Professor of Education

  • Indiana University-South Bend,IN

  • Course(s): Science methods for Pre-service Elementary Education, Intro to Scientific Inquiry

"I use Budburst with my freshmen students enrolled in the introductory class to scientific inquiry. We begin the semester with an informative walk around campus, hosted by the campus landscaper. He provides historical features of each tree, as well as methods used to provide a healthy environment for them to grow. After class, each student selects a tree that appeals to them. Throughout the semester, individual observations of the trees continue as changes are documented within their science journal. Results are shared within the Project BudBurst website. This has definitely provided a much needed perspective to the class as we witness, discuss, and record changes occurring over time."


Julie Hein-Frank

  • Instructor of Science Education

  • University of WI-Green Bay, WI

  • Course(s): Citizen Science in the Classroom, Methods of Field Biology for Educators

“I incorporate Budburst into my graduate courses for k-12 educators. Introducing teachers to Project BudBurst deepens their content knowledge of ecological patterns, systems and processes as they learn ways to involve and engage their students in the practice of authentic scientific inquiry. Participants then introduce their students to Budburst as an accessible model of scientific practice for the classroom by providing opportunities for students to make meaningful contributions to real scientific research while learning strategies in observation, question development, data collection and the interpreting and reporting of results.”


Dr. Sara Wyse

  • Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

  • Bethel University, MN

  • Course(s): Intro to Biodiversity, Ecology & Adaptation

"Students in my course work in teams to devise a method to quantify bud break and leaf emergence on campus trees. They undergo peer-review, collect data and reflect on the efficacy of their method. Students present their work at a Bio100 symposium and upload their data to Budburst. To build a campus phenology record, we study the same trees each fall (leaf drop and color change) and spring following the protocol of Long and Wyse 2012."

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