Portland Budwatch Phenology Monitoring


Welcome to Portland Budwatch! 

We aim to build local knowledge about native plant life cycles by mobilizing volunteers who can regularly check on individual plants to note when they leaf out, bloom, bear fruit, and so on.  The purpose of the citizen science research group will be to collect long-term data to understand how climate change is impacting local ecosystems. The collected data will be analyzed in order to make predictions about the consequences and share data for mitigating the potential effects of climate change. Portland Budwatch is partnered with the National Phenology Network (NPN) and uses the network database to store and organize all data. This allows our data to be compared with all other national data being collected by particpants working with NPN.

Phenology refers to recurring plant and animal life cycle stages, such as leafing and flowering, emergence of insects, and migration of birds. Phenology is the natural schedule of life history events; these events affect the abundance and diversity of organisms, their interactions with one another, their functions in food webs, their seasonal behavior, and global-scale cycles. 

In our first year, we found out that citizen science accuracy data averaged about 90%. This is wonderful news and allows us to move forward with our system of monitoring which appears highly successful. We have added two sites to our original site in Forest Park at on the Lower Macleay trail.

The sites are:

Lower Macleay Trail: This is our forested site in Forest Park that has all wild plants and is in a reserve type natural setting. The plants we monitor there are:

Laurelhurst Native Trail: This is our residential park site. It is located on the north end of Laurelhust park, an award winning park in SE Portland. The plants we monitor there are:

PSU Campus Native Garden: This is our fully urban site. It is located in front of the STRC building (SB2) on 11th street between Mill and Market.


Monitoring Marked Trails

Monitoring at Home

Phenophase Definitions

Data Sharing

Additional Phenology Resources

  Photograph taken by Kelly Fischer

For more information, contact Portland Budwatch at budwatch@gmail.com

Acknowledgements: Windy Beck, Kelly Fischer, Madeline Steele, and Christa Von Behren were instrumental in starting the marked phenology trail at Lower Macleay Trail. Kerissa Fuccillo worked subsequently on re-tagging the species, collecting initial phenology data, and getting the site partnered with the USA National Phenology Network.

Kerissa Fuccillo worked with a group of high School Students to start the Laurelhurst Native Trail. Kerissa alsoworked to mark the PSU Campus native garden site.

This work was done under the supervision of Dr. Marion Dresner at Portland State University




Current Plants we are Monitoring:

Latin Name Common Name
Oelmeria cerasiformis Indian plum  

Rubus parviflorus          Thimbleberry

Trillium ovatum Trillium
Vaccinium parviflorum Red huckleberry
Acer circinatum Vine Maple
Corylus cornuta Hazelnut

Rubus spectabilis         Salmonberry


Symphorocarpus albus Snowberry

Tellima grandflora Fringe cup




Suggestions for Ornamentals and Other Common Natives to Monitor:

Additional Resources: