Make An Un-BEE-lievable Impact On The Future Of Our Pollinators, 22°

I believe that this environmental program is so incredibly worthwhile. Many of us bemoan the state of the environment and yet feel that, aside from becoming more proactive and making eco-responsible lifestyle adjustments, we lack the necessary power to affect change on a grander scale. I tend to talk incessantly about the value of taking baby steps toward greener pastures, and how over time, those actions morph into genuinely measurable progress, and now I'm jumping up and down and saying, "YES!! It's true! Every little bit helps!!!"

This sentiment takes on greater significance when it is applied to the efforts of the Great Sunflower Project (www.greatsunflower.org) to troubleshoot and ideally resurrect native bee populations across the country. While it may seem like an incredulous and practically impossible task for a bunch of brainiacs in white lab coats to tackle on their own, that's the beauty of their plan - they are asking us...you and me...to help them with their field observations.

Simply put, when people who are truly concerned about the plight of bees actually sign up on their website and agree to take on a role as citizen scientist, the Great Sunflower Project will mail out a free packet of Helianthus Annus Sunflower seeds and a simple data sheet. All they ask is that you plant the seeds and then track the amount of bees that visit your blooming sunflowers throughout the summer. Trust me, it'll be easy-breezy...just sit in your lawn chair and watch Mother Nature in action.

Yes...I know, I know - we all have so much going on in our lives. I actually let 15 of my closest personal friends know about this project via e-mail and not one of them acknowledged receiving my message or bothered to ask me for further details. Not one.

I'm hoping that people in this community may feel like they have more of a vested interest in becoming part of the solution. The pollinators out there - the ones that are responsible for the food that we are so fortunate to eat - are taking a huge nose dive in numbers. Scientists are grappling with multiple hypotheses but can't afford to toss around theories much longer - they need our help. By planting tempting pollen beacons around our homes (or in pots on a balcony if you are an apartment dweller) and simply watching and recording (in 30 minute increments) how many bees show up twice a month throughout the summer, we will help scientists to track bee populations (or lack thereof) across the nation. I, for one, think that our busy little pollen movers-and-shakers deserve a little support.

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If any of you are intrigued by this opportunity but crave just a little bit more information, please contact me via e-mail and I'll be happy to send you a scanned copy of the actual data sheet that The Great Sunflower Project just mailed out. They are using Lemon Queen Sunflower seeds as a fixed control in this experiment, so if you think that you'll never make the signup deadline in time (ahem, procrastinate much?) or for some reason you do enroll online and fail to receive the free seeds, then you may just want to purchase them locally. The seeds are readily available, well-suited for all climates across the country and cost approximately $2.00 each packet.

Please let me know if you plan to sign up or if you've ever participated in this project before -- and by all means, share this article with other like-minded people. I'd love to hear your feedback either way, so please write a little somethin'-somethin' in the comments section!

4 comments about this action

If you would like any further information, please reach out to me because I would be happy to help!

in April 2009

Dear Elizah,
Would love to get involved. For many years I've been trying to become a beekeeper but haven't yet. Please count me in because I really care about our planet. You are wonderful!

in December 2013

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