A group of citizens is asking the public to help count bees in their backyards and gardens this Saturday to help gauge the health of pollinators locally and nationwide.
The science project is called the “Great Sunflower Project,” and is the brainchild of San Francisco State University Associate Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn.
Now in its fifth year, the data from the project is used by more than 100,000 people across North America to determine the health of bees. In recent years, the number of bees has been declining worldwide due to urbanization, climate change and other factors.
LeBuhn’s research suggest that urban centers where buildings are found and parks are “fragmented” have destroyed bee habitats, making their job of pollinating plants much more difficult, according to a press release. LeBuhn now wants to determine if that fragmentation is enough to cause population decline of bees.
While participants can make their observations and send in data any time, Aug. 11 has been named the day of the “The Great Bee Count.”
Volunteers can view an interactive map showing data from the previous four years of the project and see what is happening in their neighborhood or find areas where more data is needed.
“The results map that’s now on the website is pretty powerful,” LeBuhn said. “For those who already participate, this can help them look at the area around them and see if there’s anyone else they can encourage to join.”