Chatham County 4-H Youth Participate in the Great Southeast Pollinator Census
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This was the first year that North Carolina participated in the Great Southeast Pollinator Census, a citizen science initiative that started in Georgia a few years ago and has since spread to South Carolina and North Carolina.
The main goals of the census are to 1) encourage the creation of sustainable pollinator habitat; 2) increase entomological literacy of our citizens; and 3) generate useful data about our pollinator populations. I have been doing the first two goals for over 15 years with my Pollinator Paradise Demonstration Garden in Pittsboro but I have been wanting to do more interactive programming with kids and so I thought the census might be a good fit.
There were two days designated for the Census: August 23-24. I organized an event with our 4-H youth on the morning of August 23 at the Pollinator Paradise Garden. It was so fun! The kids ranged in age from 6-13 and were so interested in all the insects. I started out with an informal “training”, using large photos to show the difference among some of the bees that were included in the census – they needed to be able to distinguish among honey bees, bumble bees, and carpenter bees, while other small native bees were lumped together. After the brief training we walked around the garden looking at various bees, butterflies, moths, caterpillars, flies, bugs, spiders, beetles, and more! Then once we were ready to start the census, each kid counted all the pollinators that landed on a particular clump of plants (single species) for 15 minutes. They all went home with a locally grown native perennial pollinator plant and everyone said they had a great time. The next day I went back to the garden and did my own census on native thistle, a real pollinator magnet!
For more information regarding the Chatham County 4-H Program, including youth community clubs, camps, and school enrichment projects, please contact Rachael Blazzard (CRD/4-H Extension Agent) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ginger Cunningham (County Extension Director) at email@example.com.
Below are some photos from the Pollinator Census with our Chatham County 4-H youth.