Budburst – A Community Science Project

Science is for everyone! Budburst is a community science project housed at the Chicago Botanic Garden where students, community members, and scientists work together to answer critical questions about climate change by observing seasonal change in plants. SDBG is proud to be working with Budburst as part of their Partner Hub program in which partner botanic gardens from across the country contribute findings to Budburst research projects. Scroll to learn more and get involved!

Download App     Partners

Phenology and Climate Change

Phenology is the study of the timing of the life-cycle changes in plants and animals – for example, flowers blooming in the spring, or leaf color changes in the fall.

Changes in the timing of phases of the plant life cycle are directly affected by temperature, rainfall and day length. While these factors change throughout the year in places where there are distinct seasons, the first two—temperature and rainfall—are also changing in many regions because of climate change.

Budburst is one of many studies investigating the impacts of global change in specific places. When you report to Budburst about how and when the plants in your garden, park, town, or city are changing with the seasons, you are contributing scientific data that can help us understand how plants are responding to this year’s seasons and long-term changes in climate. Scientists are using data about the timing of seasonal changes in species in computer models to predict how climate and ecosystems will change decades and even centuries into the future (source: Budburst.org).


Get Involved

You can help! Just download the app today and add your own plant observations on the Budburst desktop or mobile app. Capturing the beauty of nature and contributing to important plant data has never been easier!

Download on the App Store     Get It On Google Play     Budburst Online Version


We’ve partnered with five nonprofit organizations throughout San Diego to train students, staff and volunteers on how to use the Budburst app, along with making on-site observations, leading plantings, and teaching about the importance of phenology. See a full list of partners below for more details.


Budburst programming and outreach has been made possible by generous funding from the Chicago Botanic Garden.


Our Community Partners:

Groundwork San Diego: Chollas Creek

In the summer of 2022, the Groundwork Green Team interns visited San Diego Botanic Garden. Our education staff followed up with a visit to the Groundwork EarthLab for a Budburst Training Event with the high school interns. In the fall of 2022, SDBG collaborated with Groundwork at an EarthLab community event attended by 30 community members, volunteers and the Green Team interns. Working together, we installed over 130 native plants in the new Pollinator Garden.

High Tech High School North County

High Tech High North County biology students visited SDBG in the fall of 2022 and participated in a Budburst Training event. They learned about phenology, pollinators, and made Budburst observations at the Garden. Education staff also introduced the students to garden design and then worked with students to redesign existing raised beds at High Tech High to include native and garden plants with a focus on pollinators. Students took the lead on researching, designing, and installing over 50 native plants as well as butterfly host and nectar plants in the school garden.

Palomar College

A Palomar College Biology class and the Environmental Biology Club worked together with SDBG to install over 50 native plants on Palomar College campus. The SDBG Budburst Education team also visited the Biology class and presented a Budburst training including onsite observations with students.

San Diego Canyonlands

Our education team trained Hoover High School Canyon Connection Interns on community science, climate change, and using the Budburst digital app. The interns along with SD Canyonlands staff, volunteers, and SDBG then worked together to install over 60 native plants in Olivia Canyon, a neighborhood canyon in City Heights that SD Canyonlands has been actively restoring. Participants included community members, the Chavistas from two neighborhood middle schools, families, and San Diego Parks & Recreation.

San Diego Natural History Museum

The SDBG Budburst Team was invited to participate in the San Diego Natural History Museum Secret Society of Adultology in October, 2022. During the event, we shared spooky “Boo-tanicals” and featured the Budburst app – achieving almost 100 new app downloads in one evening. In December, our team collaborated with the SDNHM Canyoneers to host a Budburst virtual training. We’re looking forward to joining the Canyoneers on a spring hike in the field.