With six months until the Great Georgia Pollinator Census, UGA needs more citizen scientists

By for CAES News

As bees emerge from their nests this spring, have you ever wondered just how many there are out there?

If so, you are not alone. University of Georgia entomologists are recruiting an army of citizen scientists to help count Georgia’s pollinators this August.

Over the next six months, UGA Cooperative Extension agents across the state will be offering in-person and online training to teach Georgians how to identify pollinators and what to plant to attract them.

“We are encouraging every Georgia citizen to get involved with this project. Counting criteria and training will be available through the website, and there will be events centered on the project across the state,” said Becky Griffin, pollinator census coordinator. “We are using this as an opportunity to educate Georgians about the importance of pollinators and pollinator habitats while generating useful data about the types of pollinators in our state.”

Those interested in counting should visit GGaPC.org to find nearby events and register to participate.

“We will be one of the first states to count all of its pollinators,” Griffin said. “This will be big.”

Griffin modeled the program on the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen-science program run by Cornell University that asks people to count the birds they see in their backyard on a given winter day.

The Great Georgia Pollinator Census will work similarly, but citizens will count bumblebees, carpenter bees, small bees, flies, wasps, butterflies and other insects.

For a 15-minute span over the Aug. 23-24 time period, census takers will focus their attention on a plant in their yard or garden that is known to attract pollinators. They’ll submit their findings using a simple online form.

Researchers will then use the aggregated data to learn about pollinator populations across the state.

To register to be a census taker, visit GGaPC.org.

To date, Georgia Tech, Emory University, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and other organizations have partnered with UGA for this project. Other partners will schedule events that will be posted on the website.

For more information about how to support Georgia pollinators, visit ugaurbanag.com/pollinators/.

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