CITIZEN SCIENCE

We are working to gather baseline data on leafing, flowering and fruiting of common native plants in all 92 Indiana counties. We need your help.

Indiana Backyard Observers use Nature's Notebook, a citizen science observation platform, to regularly monitor common plants in their own yard or neighborhood. Each time they observe, they record whether they see leaves, flowers or fruits on selected plants. Observations are submitted online or through a free mobile app. Participants of all ages are welcome. This is a great activity for families to do together.

How we use the data: We use the data to explore how the timing of seasonal changes varies across the state and from year to year. The data is used by scientists, educators, gardeners and land managers in Indiana and across the country. You can use it, too.

How to participate: Create an account and register the plants you want to observe. Then print datasheets or install the app and go outside to observe. To help you feel confident as an observer, we provide many helpful resources including a quick start guide, training videos and species-specific observing guides. We even have an activity guide for teachers or families.


Featured plant

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

A small native tree that brightens up the spring landscape with its profusion of hot pink blossoms

What we saw last year: Backyard Observers across the state reported on the leaf and flower bud development of redbud trees. Here's what we learned from them.

  • Flower buds appear before the leaf buds begin to break.

  • Flowers and leaves open about the same time.

  • Flowering starts in the SW corner of the state, spreading to the NE corner.



We need more observers to report on other counties and to help pinpoint the start date with greater accuracy. Become an Indiana Backyard Observer today.