The collection of data by large amounts of individual people can have a big impact on the subject being studied. The Christmas Bird Count is one of the oldest such data collection projects. I could not put it better myself as to how this effort matters: “The data collected by observers over the past century allow Audubon researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.”
|Examples of the categories - Top row: Syrphid fly and small green bee;|
Middle row: butterfly (skipper), beetles (category 'other'), honey bee;
Bottom row: carpenter bee (smooth butt) and bumble bee (fuzzy butt).
Missing: wasp is the last category.
This year is the beginning of a new count in Georgia: a count of pollinators, primarily insects, during a time of year when they are at their most abundant (the hot, sticky, month of August!). Georgia leads the way in this new effort and we can all help to make it meaningful.
Your charge, should you choose to accept it, is to spend 15 minutes observing one flowering plant and counting how many insects land on it. Record your counts using defined categories of insects: bumble bees, carpenter bees, honey bees, small bees, butterflies/moths, wasps, flies, and ‘other.’ The days to count are Friday, August 23 (when we hope that lots of schools will be participating) and Saturday, August 24.
Just like the bird count, you are allowed to have more than one 15-minute report if you like. I plan to count several times during those two days, using a variety of flowering native plants. Upload all your counts to the official website: www.ggapc.org . Share photos of your activities, your flowers, or your insects on social media with the hashtag #GAPollinators.
If you’re unsure of your identification ability, you are welcome to join one of dozens of community scheduled counting events all over Georgia. I’ll be helping out at several that GNPS is sponsoring. You can find them on the count’s official website (scroll down to the census counting events section): https://ggapc.org/events/
It only takes 15 minutes to make history – let’s submit as many count reports as we can. Get your family, get your friends, and get your neighbors to count. A 15-minute count is all it takes to help bring awareness to Georgia’s pollinators and insects.
|Ok, here's a wasp in case you need a refresher on what|
they look like!
|I hope to see lots of butterflies.|
This is a Gulf Fritillary.