Lowell program creating future scientists


Congratulations to the Lowell students and their teachers who are practicing the science of phenology on conservation land (“Keeping an eye on trees and what changes them,” July 7).

Their important work as citizen scientists mirrors a similar program at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, where a group of volunteers keeps track of seasonal changes in more than 60 trees. We compare our data to the careful records that Henry David Thoreau kept on the same tree species in the mid-19th century. As we monitor the trees, we find that leaves and flowers are opening 18 days earlier now than they did in Thoreau’s time. The trees also hold onto their leaves longer in the fall. These variations disrupt the delicate balance between plants, insects, and migrating birds. They mark yet another sobering example of the damage that climate change inflicts on the natural world.

As we confront a climate emergency, why not involve more young people in environmental programs such as this one? We need more researchers and naturalists like these young scientists, to help us create a sustainable future for their generation and those that follow.

Liza Ketchum


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