Today and tomorrow, August 23 and 24, are the days set for UGA’s Great Georgia Pollinator Census (GGPC). UGA’s goal is to create a “snapshot” of the pollinators in Georgia on these two days in August.
Since UGA research staff can’t cover the whole state in two days, they have called for “all hands on deck” — inviting the entire population of the state to help. I went to one of my favorite neighborhood gardens to participate this morning.
My day at the garden
A total of nine of us showed up to count pollinators, but the garden will be open again tomorrow, for people who couldn’t participate on a weekday.
We had a great time watching the insects, identifying butterflies, and being in a garden full of flowers.
The garden includes a patch of milkweeds, more than one kind, for the monarchs, and we found monarch butterfly eggs on the backs of some of the leaves. It is always heartening to see evidence that the monarch migration continues.
Some pictures from my morning:
What we learned
One plant can be visited by five or six or more kinds of butterflies in just the fifteen minute window of counting time. The good news is that we didn’t have to identify the exact kinds, just know that they were butterflies. Many were skippers, and those can be hard to tell apart.
Also, some plants are visited by so many teeny tiny bees that counting can be difficult.
The husband of one of our pollinator counters did a “dry run” on a plant in their yard yesterday, the day before the census, to see how it would go. He saw a hummingbird moth (his wife identified it), and he had never seen one before. He was entranced.
Still another day to participate!
If you weren’t able to pitch in today, there is still tomorrow. Visit the GGPC website to read about how-to-count and to download a copy of the counting sheet.
Then, on Saturday the 24th of August, find a plant that has flowers on it and insects visiting the flowers. Set a timer for 15 minutes, then count the insects that visit the flowers.
You don’t have to have great insect-ID skills for this. The categories of pollinators are for just eight kinds, and the GGPC website includes a guide to download that shows pictures.