USDA Photo: Courtesy of Nancy Adamson and the Xerces Society

Photo by Lance Cheung, USDA. 


Citizen Science Project

"Bee" Good to the Bees

Spring showers bring summer flowers, and hopefully attract our favorite pollinators.

According to the University of Illinois, over 75% of the planet’s flowering plants depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. The majority of those pollinators are insects, including more than 5,000 species of bees. Unfortunately, colony collapse disorder has caused bee populations to drop dramatically in recent years.  

Get your kids excited about protecting bees (and reassure their fears about bees at the same time). Don't use chemical insect controls in the garden, especially early and late in the day, and participate in these citizen science activities: 

Bee Spotter

Help University of Illinois entomologists by sharing photographs of bees in your Illinois garden.  A great way to integrate technology in the outdoor classroom!

The Great Sunflower Project

Watch and record bees and other pollinators at sunflowers in your garden to help researchers understand the challenges bees are facing. 

Xerces Society: Project Bumblebee 

Track the status of five bumblebee species by sending in photos.  A regularly updated map shows nesting site locations provided by citizens across the country.

Plus, check out the photographs at Passion for Pollinators. It's sure to inspire! 

And visit the the Montana Pollinator Education Project, which provides links to lesson plans, illustrations, publications, videos, websites, and offers a recommended reading list for students and teachers.

Here are more lessons and resources you might find useful:

Busy Bees: Investigating the Pollination Cycle
How to Grow a Pollinator Garden from

Pollinator Partnership: National Pollinator Week activities