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Botanic Gardens' Call to Gardeners

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As flowers begin to bloom this spring, the Chicago Botanic Garden is asking people to keep track of their gardens. The project is called Bud Burst, and aims to create a national database of flowering records. Pati Vitt is manager of conservation programs at the Botanic Garden. She says bloom times are a visible effect of climate change. “What we’re trying to do is measure exactly what is changing in response to temperatures rising or rainfall patterns changing,” Vitt says.

Vitt says most plant species are flowering up to two weeks earlier than they have historically. She also says this year’s unusually cold February could mean many fruit trees produce less fruit than usual in the Chicago-area. After a little more than a month, several hundred people across the country have recorded flowering information on the BudBurst project’s website. It runs through the end of June.

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