Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Great Sunflower Project--Join the Hunt for Bees

The Great Sunflower Project was started in 2008 (San Francisco State University) as a way to track bee/ wild bee populations in urban, suburban, and rural areas across the U.S. and Canada and  plant pollination.  The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that in 2009, the second year of the project, 55,000 people participated. In 2010 the number is up to 80,000.
(Map of 2010 activity.)

Regular gardeners were asked to become scientists and observe the bee populations in their own garden.  The project asks the gardener to plant a main observation plant, the annual Lemon Queen sunflower seeds (available at local shops or online).  The project added other bee attracting flowers to the mix and seeds for those plants are available online as well*.

Throughout the summer, the gardener/scientist then observes the number of bees come to a specific sunflower in a 15 minute time span.  This data is posted by the gardener online at the Great Sunflower Project site.

Based on the findings of the study to date, if you see 0-1 bees in 15 minutes you have a poor polinator service in your area, 2-3 bees is moderate, and 4 or more is good.

Join the project by planting the sunflowers and registering with the Great Sunflower Project.
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*Additional flowers in the study: Bee balm, Cosmos, Rosemary, Tickseed, and Purple coneflower

1 comment:

Alexis E. said...

Ooh, I remember reading about this last year and didn't get a chance to help. I will go hunt down some seeds now!


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