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Join the Great Georgia Pollinator Census

Georgians all across our state will become citizen scientists from Aug. 23-24 as they participate in the first Great Georgia Pollinator Census. The census is an important initiative to document a snapshot of local pollinator populations. Other goals include increasing sustainable pollinator habitat and increasing the entomological literacy of Georgia citizens. ’You do not have to be an entomologist to participate; we are not looking for species level identification. Again, the Insect Identification and Counting Guide gives you all the tools needed to tell a bee from a fly and a bumble bee from a carpenter bee,’ said Pike’s agriculture and natural resources agent Brooklyne Wassel. ‘After counting, participants will upload their counts to the website, or turn their numbers into Pike County Extension for the Extension office to upload.’ The project website, GGaPC.org, contains all the information a citizen needs to participate. An Insect Identification and Counting Guide explains the details of the project. On the census dates, people are encouraged to pick a favorite pollinator plant from their garden, a community garden or designated counting site to use for counting. This plant should have many blooms that are attracting insects. For 15 minutes, participants will count the insects landing on their plant and put them in the following categories: bumble bees, carpenter bees, honey bees, small bees, wasps, flies, butterflies or other insects. ’We want people to go from ‘˜oooh, it’s a bug’ to ‘˜look at the tarsal claw on that bee!.’ All Georgians are invited to be part of this project,’ said Great Georgia Pollinator Census project coordinator Becky Griffin. ‘Pilot projects conducted in 2017 and 2018 focused on community and school gardens. The results of the pilot projects allowed us to improve the counting strategy and to create educational materials for gardeners and teachers. Many schools used the pilot projects as part of their STEM work.’ The GGaPC.org website also has information on building pollinator habitat as well as information about pollinator events going on around the state including Pike events. Pike County Extension will host a Lunch and Learn: Pollinator Plants on Aug. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Concord Event Center for only $10 and Guided Counts at Wild Daisy Farms on Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. as a drop in event for free. Contact the Extension office for more information about either program or census questions. ’Pollinator conservation is important to everyone from apartment dwellers to farmers. Homeowners will learn through this project that many of our native bees forage in a small area, 300 to 500 square feet and if the bees’ needs are met, they will stay and provide valuable eco-services for that homeowner. We can make a real and lasting difference in pollinator protection,’ said Griffin. ‘Join the Georgia Pollinator Census Facebook group. Create dedicated pollinator habitat. Learn about insects. Learn about pollinator plants on Friday, and count with us on Saturday. Be part of Georgia pollinator history.’ Sign up online or contact Pike County Extension at 770-567-2010.

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