i-Three Issue Corps – Pollinator Spaces Project Expands

I am excited to say that in 2016 the Pollinator Spaces Project registered over 60 new gardens in 20 Georgia counties.  As other gardeners have heard about the project we have been asked to continue the project into 2017.   We are happy to do so!

Oakhurst Community Garden Pollinator Space – complete with pollinator!

The Georgia Pollinator Census

After working with this initiative for a year we decided to add a new part to the project: the Georgia Pollinator Census.   The Georgia Pollinator Census initiative asks school and community gardeners who are experienced in growing pollinator habitat to identify and count pollinators.   There are two goals for the project.  The first is to find out if there is a difference in numbers and types of pollinating insects in rural, suburban and urban areas.  Secondly, we want to expand the insect knowledge of the gardeners.

How will the project work?

As a gardening group is interested in the project they contact me to sign up.  They will receive an insect identification/collection kit (thanks to grant monies) and an identification number.   I will deliver three aster plants to the gardens.  These plants will be put in the ground in the spring to mature and have many blossoms by September.

Gardeners will be trained on insect identification through in-person workshops, website resources, and videos.  I will also be available to assist gardeners, along with their county ANR Extension agents.

Many asters are Georgia natives that are very attractive to insects.

We will ask the gardeners to count during the month of September, once a week for three weeks.  We are asking for 15 minute count times, counting insects only on the aster.  They will log their counts on the website using their individual identification number.  We hope for up to 50 volunteer groups for this project.

Since the gardeners that have reported new pollinator habitat are from 19 very diverse Georgia counties, we are hopeful that we will get volunteers for the project from rural, suburban and urban gardens.  It will be interesting to see if the the pollinator counts are different.  And, we are hoping in inspire a few new entomologists!