Pollinators are in decline on a global scale due to habitat loss, parasites, and pesticides. This greatly impacts our agriculture system and ecosystem health – 35% of our crops are dependent on pollinators and three-quarters of all flowers, notes the USDA. The Great Sunflower Project invites you to join their team of online citizen scientists this week. Just spend some time outside and observe pollinators on plants. Observations can happen on a hike, by casually watching a pollinator in your local area, or by monitoring a spot for five to 30 minutes. The Great Sunflower Project’s website will help you identify local bees and flowers; then you can record your location, time spent observing, and the kinds of pollinators you saw. These data will improve pollinator data sets for research on which species are declining or not, and on what plants still support them, as well as provide information to help teach people about pollinator friendly gardens and to influence policies on pesticides and agriculture. But also, exploring your neighborhood will introduce you to the diversity of pollinators that inhabit it. To get started, head over to https://verizon.scistarter.org/, read the instructions for The Great Sunflower Project, and start monitoring pollinators near you!
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