Project Bud Break

Program or topic

Project Bud Break

Department(s) or unit(s)

Department of Natural Resources

Contact information

David Weinstein
Senior Research Associate, Department of Natural Resources
Assistant Director of Sustainable Initiatives, Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station.

Program goals

  • Monitoring native plants to identify effects of global change
  • Identifying carbon sequestration solutions to reduce atmospheric carbon
  • Identifying solutions to improve sustainability of local resource management
  • Analyzing ecosystem response to atmospheric pollution, including climate change

Brief Description

Under the leadership of David Weinstein, Project Bud Break is creating a citizen science network of plant phenology observers to monitor effects of global climate change on native plants in central New York. Observations made by network members will help us better understand how global warming affects plant flowering and growth.

Weinstein has also evaluated the carbon sequestration potential of Cornell-owned forests and farms and is developing and implementing a culture of sustainability for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. This involves the development of a computerized decision matrix that will help prioritize where investments in sustainability projects can most effectively be made. With the President’s Climate Change Implementation Committee, he is helping Cornell University design a plan to achieve climate neutrality (zero net greenhouse gas emissions) on the Cornell campus, In addition, his research involves analyzing and modeling the systems controlling plant response to environment, including construction of computer simulation models of the ecosystem dynamics in many different types of forests and landscapes.

Update from Weinstein [2015-01-15]:

When we started Budbreak, around 2008, there was no other citizen science program for collecting plant phenology observations for people to get involved with other than the Lilac network, in which people were sent clonal plants to put in the ground at their location to see how changes in climate might affect them.  Soon after we started Budbreak, the National Phenology Network got going with their programs, Nature’s Notebook and Project Budburst.

It was appropriate to have Budbreak and Budburst/Nature’s Notebook running side by side for a while, because Budbreak focused on measurements of native species in central NY, while Nature’s Notebook initially restricted their allowable observations to species that could be found in many different areas of the U.S.  However, as programs with much larger resources at their disposal, Nature’s Notebook and Budburst have grown immensely, and been able to add a wide variety of information and tools for participant citizen scientists, while it was all we could do to keep Budbreak available for recording observations.  Further, since the real value of phenological observations is the accumulation of records over time, the national programs had much more security of being around decades from now.

Consequently, a few years ago, we started telling people that they should join Nature’s Notebook record their observations on their website instead of Budbreak.  We subsequently closed down the registration for Budbreak.

For more information


Key publications:

  • Weinstein, D.A. 2007. Project Budbreak: Monitoring how climate change affects native plants. Cornell Plantations Magazine. 62(2): 12-19.
  • Hong, B., D. A. Weinstein and D. P. Swaney. 2006. Assessment of ozone effects on nitrate export from Hubbard Brook Watershed 6. Environmental Pollution. 141: 8-21.

Category: Carbon credits, sequestration, Ecosystems, Phenology, Terrestrial

Save on DeliciousDigg ThisShare via email
Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestSubmit to StumbleUponShare on Twitter