Great Georgia Pollinator Census
August 23, 2019
Gaskins Forest Education Center
3359 Moore Sawmill Road, Alapaha
Gaskins Forest Education Center is excited to participate in the first annual Great Georgia Pollinator Census that will take place at gardens across Georgia on August 23 and 24. UGA Extension Pollinator Census coordinator Becky Griffin modeled the event after popular citizen science initiative, the Great Backyard Bird Count, which recruits beginning-to-expert bird watchers to observe birds and report their sightings over a four-day period. Griffin expects for participants in the Great Georgia Pollinator Census to learn “about the importance of pollinators and pollinator habitats while generating useful data about the types of pollinators in our state.”
Flying insects, such as bees, flies, butterflies, and moths are responsible for pollinating over 75% of our flowering plants and many of our food crops. Large-scale declines of pollinator insects have been reported in the U.S. and internationally, with habitat loss, environmental contaminants, and disease threatening pollinator insect populations and the valuable services they provide. Wide-spread data collection efforts such as these can present a snapshot of wildlife populations in Georgia that can be used to inform baseline knowledge and to monitor trends when efforts are repeated annually. Participants in the Pollinator Census are asked to observe a flowering plant for fifteen minutes and count and categorize the pollinator insects that visit it. Repeated data collection is encouraged, and participants may continue to monitor additional plants for 15-minute periods to contribute more data on the pollinator insects observed.
All Georgians are welcome to participate in the Great Georgia Pollinator Census, regardless of their knowledge of insects. Training materials are available online at www.GGaPC.org, but those interested in participating may also attend guided census events where they can receive on-site training to identify common pollinator insects and complete their counts with identification assistance. Gaskins Forest Education Center, Quail Forever, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Coastal Plain Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society are cohosting guided counts from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on August 23 and 24 at Gaskins Forest Education Center, located at 3359 Moore Sawmill Rd, Alapaha, Georgia and will provide data forms and training as well as refreshments, native seeds, and crafts. This event is free, and school groups, families, and individuals are all welcome to participate and contribute in this historic event!