Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BumbleBeeWatch

League of Environmental Educators of Florida shared the following article about a new program called BumbleBeeWatch.

BumbleBeeWatch.org, a website that allows you to identify and help protect bumble bees in North America is now live! Through BumbleBeeWatch.org you can connect with experts and enthusiasts to help track the status of these essential pollinators.

If any pollinator is iconic, it's the bumble bee. Furry and hardworking, the many species of bumble bees help to deliver bountiful harvests to farmers markets and grocery shelves. Their labor also provides seeds and fruits for songbirds and many mammals, while helping to keep healthy plant populations in our meadows and backyards. In short, they are essential to wildlands, gardens, and farms.

Alarmingly, many recent reports suggest that we may be losing their familiar buzz from our summer landscapes. Habitat loss, insecticide use, disease, and climate change all pose threats to North American bumble bees. More information is needed to determine their conservation status, and that process demands a continent-wide collaborative effort.

There is an amazing community of citizen scientists who have helped follow a handful of bumble bee species. This new website will generate greater awareness and make it easier for more people to join this community and to track all bumble bee species. The more people that are directly helping to study these fascinating insects, the more likely it is that  changes necessary to protect them will be implemented. Join BumbleBeeWatch.org today!

A smartphone or simple digital camera is all that's needed to start exploring BumbleBeeWatch.org:

• Upload photos of bumble bees to start a virtual bumble bee collection
• Use an interactive guide to identify the bumble bees in your photos
• Have your identifications verified by experts
• Help determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees
• Help locate rare or endangered populations
• Learn about bumble bees, their ecology, and ongoing conservation efforts
• Connect with other citizen scientists engaged in pollinator conservation

For More Information:
• Learn how to contribute your photos 
• Learn how to take helpful photos of bumble bees
• Meet the partners 
• Read more about bumble bees at risk on Xerces' Project Bumble Bee web page 
• Watch the Bumble Bee Watch trailer video on YouTube

Bumble Bee Watch is a partnership between the Xerces Society, Wildlife Preservation Canada, the University of Ottawa, the Montreal Insectarium, the Natural History Museum in London, and BeeSpotter.