Friday, 22 July 2016

30 Days Wild day 28- Great British Bee Count

Something I really enjoy doing, but haven't had time to do for a while, is citizen science data collection. Increasingly, data collected by members of the public are providing a really important resource for scientists. For 30 Days Wild, I decided to do take part in a project which I hadn't tried before.

The bee count, organised by Friends of the Earth in partnership with Waitrose, collects data from members of the public via an app.  You can upload bees by species, or count the number of bees which visit a 25cm2 area of a specified food plant. One of the most noticeable things about coming back to the garden at home in Lincoln was the constant buzzing of bees. The Cotoneaster plants are all in flower, and they are absolutely covered in pollinators. They favour the Cotoneaster so much that they're ignoring the lavender plants, which I always think of as real bee magnets.

In the first two minutes, I saw 19 bees in the 25cm2 of cotoneaster which I was looking at. After your timed count, the app asks you to add additional information, from the weather at the time to the location. This allows the scientists who analyse the data to identify the factors affecting bee numbers. This is such a great use of smartphone technology, because you can use the inbuilt GPS for an accurate location.

The bee count is now over for this year, but I'll be looking out for it next June. And if you fancy some seasonal pollinator citizen science, the Big Butterfly Count is running until the 7th of August!

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