Georgia students and teachers will launch the "Pollinator Census Project" when the new school year begins.
Students will learn about the importance of bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Nearly 40 schools from across the state will participate.
This summer, students planted snow flurry asters in their school gardens. They are a ground cover that blooms in the fall and attracts a variety of pollinating insects. Becky Griffin of the University of Georgia Extension says the children will compare the data they gather.
“We're going to be counting pollinators that land on aster plants that we have provided to the gardens, so everyone will have the same plants they're working with,” Griffin said.
UGA researchers will use the data students collect to analyze how the snow flurry asters attract pollinators in different kinds of environments.
"We have some in urban areas, some in rural areas and some in suburban areas, so we want to compare those counts with each other,” Griffin said.
The students will be counting bees, butterflies, wasps ... even pollinating flies.
The UGA Extension is providing lesson plans and learning materials to help students learn about the role of pollinators in the ecosystem.
Several community gardens around the state are also participating.