Citizen Science: Use Technology to Track Fall Foliage


Photo credit: turning mill pond 2 via photopin (license)

Learning Objectives: To develop observational skills and assess the extent of Fall foliage in a given area.

Deciduous trees lose their leaves each Fall through a biological process known as senescence. Prior to the falling of a leaf from a tree, green chlorophyll breaks down, exposing other pigments. This results in the remarkable colors seen during Autumn in some areas. When senescence occurs, the cells of the stems die and the leaf falls off of the tree.

Like most processes, losing leaves takes time for a tree. Using observation skills, you can track the fall foliage in your area and record your findings in an app such as Leaf Peepr. Based upon the summative ratings of other viewers as well as your own data inputs, you can determine whether leaves are “green,” “turning,” “moderate,” “peak,” “fading,” or “gone” in your area or another location.

Next steps? Use this data to analyze trends in leaf foliage patterns over time in different areas, or simply to plan a Fall trip!


Yankee Foliage


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