UGA looks to count pollinators

Possibly thousands of children and adults alike will be out across the state with clipboards and sharp eyes Friday and Saturday, out where flowers are growing to spot and count certain kinds of insect. They will be to be part of the first “Great Georgia Pollinator Census,” launched by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension this year after a two-year pilot program.

The census has three basic purposes, says organizer Becky Griffin, community and school garden coordinator with the Extension’s Center for Urban Agriculture. One goal is simply to get a statewide snapshot of the bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths and other insects that are crucial in plants’ life cycles by spreading pollen.

Griffin also hopes to encourage the creation of sustainable habitats for pollinators and to increase public entomological literacy. She says it's the first such survey that's been done in the country, to her knowledge volunteers are being asked to check off eight categories - carpenter bees, bumblebees, honey bees, small bees, wasps, flies, butterflies/moths, and other insects.

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