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A project of the Chicago Botanic Garden


Pollinators and Climate


Help us understand how plant-pollinator interactions are responding to a changing climate

As we build an understanding of how plants are being affected by climate change, we know that the timing of reproduction life events like flowering, are indeed changing. Pollinators are crucial to a majority of plant reproduction and changes in climate may be affecting their life cycles as well.


How is climate change affecting plant-pollinator interactions?

Changes in pollination has significant impacts on how we humans live our lives and interact with our environment on a daily basis. Pollinator and pollinator health changes the success of fruiting for plants and our food supply and therefore our health. We know that phenological events can vary from year to year, but how are pollinators affected by these variations. Submit data to help us understand how insect emergence, pollen availability, and climate conditions impacts plant-pollinator interaction.

Become a pollinator saver.

All it takes is a few clicks. Start observing today. Join Budburst

How to Participate


Create or log into your Budburst Account and submit a pollinator observation.


Report using your handheld device or record your observations on a printable datasheet and add your findings online later.


Anywhere you can observe pollinators on a flowering plant.


  • Once a plant is flowering, then complete a 10 minute observation recording the number and type of pollinators that visit.

  • For every observation, record the date, the approximate temperature (°F), and cloud cover, measure the height of each plant from the soil to the tallest tip in centimeters (cm), and note the phenological stage of each plant (early, middle, or late flower). The pollinators observation form also asks for the number of open flowers or flower heads for each plant, depending on what species you are observing. Now you are ready to start observing pollinators!

  • Record the start time of your observation period and sit or stand a comfortable distance from the plant from which you can clearly see insects but not interfere with their visitation. Each time a pollinator touches a flower, record a visit for the appropriate plant and pollinator group. If a pollinator visits a flower, leaves the plant for >10 seconds, and returns to the same plant, record as a new visit. 

  • Continue to observe for 10 minutes and record the end time of your observation period.

Related Resources

  1. Multiple Plant Pollinator Observation Sheet
  2. Single Plant 3 Group Pollinator Observation Sheet
  3. Single Plant 7 Group Pollinator Observation Sheet
  4. Pollinator ID Guide

First Flowers

Spring is important as pollinators emerge! Help us track when they appear.

See the Challenge

Summer Pollination

Help us track what pollinators are doing during the hottest time of the year.

See the Challenge

Fall Flowers

Help us track pollinator activity this fall as they get ready to hibernate.

See the Challenge

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