Participate in a Citizen Science Program
for National Pollinator Month
Extending Pollinator Conservation Beyond the Garden
Even if you haven’t earned your Masters in Ecology yet, every American can contribute to pollinator conservation. In some cases, you need only a smartphone. “Citizen Science”, or the crowdsourcing of scientific information from the general public, has taken off in an effort to engage citizens in protecting declining pollinator populations. Planting a wildflower patch in commercial and residential spaces will make a direct impact on the local birds, bees, beneficial wasps, and butterflies. Once wildflowers are in bloom, professionals and amateurs alike can participate in any one of these national or regional citizen science programs for National Pollinator Month and extend their conservation efforts beyond the garden.
These programs are coast to coast, pooling national observations and data together to better understand pollinator conservation efforts.
Bumble Bee Watch
Bumble Bee Watch aims to collect bumble bee observations from across the US for conservation purposes. People are able to upload their own photos of bumble bees to the website’s Sightings form or by using the Bumble Bee Watch app. This program also includes an option to upload photos of Nests, should a citizen scientist come across one in a commercial or residential garden. Get involved here .
Suggested Mixtures to Attract Bumble Bees:
Bumblebee Buffet Flower Seed Mixture (BBMX)
The Great Sunflower Project
The Great Sunflower Project is working with San Fransisco State University to track and record pollinator visits to sunflowers and other wildflowers. Participants can record the species of plants and the pollinators who visit them once they register an account with GSP. Additional resources like bee identification guides and tools to assess your garden’s pollinator habitat can be found on their website. While the program has expanded to cover all kinds of pollinator gardens, the main program is designed to observe pollinators visiting Lemon Queen Sunflowers. A key component of this citizen science program is to choose seeds not treated with neonicotinoid, a type of pesticide, and sunflower varieties not bred to be pollen-less (all Applewood Seed Co. sunflower varieties are suitable). Learn more about this program and the ways you can participate here.
Additional Sunflowers and Mixtures for Honey Bees:
Grey Stripe Sunflower, Helianthus annuus (HGIG)
Sunflower ‘Velvet Queen’, Helianthus annuus (HAVQ)
Journey North Pollinator Patches
Journey North aims to track migratory patterns of pollinators, especially birds and butterflies who travel vast distances seasonally. Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds are two key species that depend on pollinator-friendly gardens for food as they travel, often over thousands of miles. You can register and report sightings here.
Suggested Mixtures that Attract Hummingbirds and Monarch Butterflies:
Native Flower Mixture for the Monarchs (MBNA)
Monarch Butterfly Garden Seed Mixture (MBMX)
Hummingbird Flower Seed Mixture (HBMX)
These programs are active in specific regions or climates to record observations of pollinators threatened in these areas of the US.
Pacific Northwest Bumblebee Atlas
In conjunction with Bumble Bee Watch, the PNW Bumble Bee Atlas aims to collect local bumble bee observations in and around Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Using the same app (available for Android or Apple iOS), participants “adopt” a grid cell in which to observe bumble bees and record sightings. Special emphasis is on collecting data for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), such as Morrison’s bumble bee (Bombus morrisoni) and the Western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis). You can see which areas the program is trying to obtain data on here.
Suggested Flower Mixes and Species for the PNW:
Western Pollinator Seed Mixture (WSPM)
Northwest Flower Seed Mixture (NWMX)
Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper
Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper is an effort to study the habits and habitats of the western monarch butterfly along with the Xerces Society and the Fish and Wildlife/Game Departments of Idaho and Washington. While there is little to no genetic differences between Western and Eastern Monarch, the Western Monarch has been deeply impacted by habitat loss and has declined in numbers by >95% since the 1980s. Participants in Milkweed Mapper record observations of milkweed plants, the host plant for monarchs, and the number of butterflies who visit. This allows conservationists to map where the monarchs are within the Western US and to better understand the habitat needs of the insects. Learn more about this citizen science program here.
Suggested Milkweeds for Western Monarch Butterflies:
Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa (ASSP)
Focused on the native bees and pollinators of New England and the Northeast, the Beecology Project records observations and bee habits using their Beecology app. In partnership with UMASS-Dartmouth and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Beecology encourages high school and university students to learn more about pollinator conservation and the computer science applications that can improve conservation efforts. Much of the app and software around Beecology were developed and are actively maintained by WPI students. Check out how you can participate here.
Suggested Flower Mixes for the Northeast/New England:
Northeast Flower Seed Mixture (NEMX)
Northeast Native Flower Seed Mixture (NENA)
Applewood Seed Co. Wins 2022 Colorado Companies to Watch Award
The employee-owners of Applewood Seed Co. (ASCO) announce that they have been named a winner of the 2022 Colorado Companies to Watch (CCtW) Award. Last May, ASCO announced their place as a top finalist for the 2022 CCTW award and the 50 Winners were announced at the finalists Gala held on June 17th, 2022. The […]
Citizen Science Programs for National Pollinator Month
Even if you haven’t earned your Masters in Ecology yet, every American can contribute to pollinator conservation. In some cases, you need only a smartphone. “Citizen Science”, or the crowdsourcing of scientific information from the general public, has taken off in an effort to engage citizens in protecting declining pollinator populations. Planting a wildflower patch […]