Bursting Buds Spark Interest in Citizen Science

The Cordova Times
Monday, May 20, 2019

by SCA Intern James Ianni

While walking through Cordova, have you ever noticed the tiny blue flowers blooming in early May? Or while boating on the Copper River Delta have you noticed the yellow and purple flower buds bursting across the landscape?
 
As tiny and subtle as these moments and observations may be, you have witnessed the magic display of plants.
 
Observing plant life cycle events (such as budding flowers and seed heads), is as simple as noticing tiny, bell-shaped flowers while you are walking Crater Lake trail. You may hike this trail the same time every year and never notice these tiny, bell-shaped flowers. Or maybe you have visited the same place, during the same time each year, and noticed the flowers seem to be further along than they have been in the past.
 
This vibrant transformation that occurs throughout the seasons is symbol of phenology. The word phenology comes from the Greek word Phaino or Phainen meaning “shining or to show,” and the Latin word Logia meaning “the study of,” so phenology literally means “to study the shining show.” In more scientific terms, phenology means “the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomenon, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life.” 
 
Phenology is a rapidly emerging and growing field of science that has been gaining interest across the entire world.