Researchers working on the Great Sunflower Project have designated August 11 the day of “The Great Bee Count.”
The Great Sunflower project, started in 2008, is a way for citizens to help collect data about bees and pollination, right in their backyard.
The project’s founder, San Francisco State University Associate Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn, is hoping to collect information about the numbers and health of bees across North America in urban and rural areas.
LeBuhn has found that the bee population is much lower in urban areas, and she hopes to understand why this is so with The Great Sunflower project.
“We’re really interested in doing deeper comparisons of rural and urban and suburban areas, and what that means for pollinators,” LeBuhn said in a press release announcing the project.
While August 11 is the official day of “The Great Bee Count,” people are encouraged to participate throughout the year.
More than 2,000 gardens in the Bay Area are signed up to participate in the bee censu, and so far 38 gardens in Lamorinda have also signed up for the project.
To participate, those interested are encouraged to plant specific types of plants and then report on the number of bees observed during a 15 minute time period, once or twice a month. Suggested plants include Lemon Queen sunflowers, bee balm, cosmos, rosemary, tickseed and purple coneflower.
To participate, sign up for an account at GreatSunflower.org.