Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Great Sunflower Project

Citizens across North America are planting sunflowers and counting bees visiting the flowers. These citizen scientists are participating in a study of the populations of honey bees and native pollinators. Scientific investigations are based upon observations, and the greater the number of observations that can be made, the more meaningful the results can be. The Great Sunflower Project is looking for the locations of bees and pollinators in North America. Of particular interest are the locations where bees are absent. The project relies upon thousands of participants who each plant the same variety of sunflower plant and then count the number of bees that visit the blooms. The flower in use is the Lemon Queen Sunflower, a plant that is highly attractive to bees. The beauty of the project is its simplicity. The hearty sunflower is among the easiest of annual flowers to grow. The seed is inexpensive, and people of all ages can participate. This enjoyable project produces bright flowers in the yard or garden. The Great Sunflower Project is also a good introduction to individuals everywhere to the importance of bees and native pollinators.

The sunflower planting can be the start of each person’s pollinator garden. With spring approaching, the time is right to participate in The Great Sunflower Project. Seeds can be ordered now, and they will arrive in time to be planted as soon as the soil is adequately warmed. When the plants produce flowers, you are ready to report the bee visitors. The colorful blossoms are highly attractive to numerous species of bees. The planting of great numbers of pollinator gardens can be the quickest method for reversing the decline of pollinators. Those who participate will be eager to learn techniques for maintaining lawns, gardens, golf courses, and farms in a manner that provides food and habitat for the pollinators. Visit The Great Sunflower Project’s web site,, to participate. Click on today’s photo to see solitary native bees collecting pollen from a sunflower.

1 comment:

  1. I read about that last year and thought it was a great idea. Thanks for the post, I will plan to do that this year!