"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man." - Albert Einstein
HELP provide bee-friendly habitats through community driven science
Over the last 60 years bees have seen a huge loss of their natural habitat, including over 90% of the wildflower meadows in the UK. However urban area's are now richly stocked with gardens, parks and towns growing the number of plants and flowers available. Spot-a-Bee encourages people to take photographs of bees feeding off plants and to upload these to an online portal (spotabee.buzz), which enables us to map the plants that bees use in processes of pollination.
We are seeking funds to develop our existing website (spotabee.buzz) and to develop a new App to enable people across the UK to contribute to Spot-a-Bee. This work will enable us to take that information and find out how to help our bee community.
Through this community driven research project, we hope to find out what plants bees feed-from across the country, which will help us to identify places where it could be beneficial to plant pollinator plants, as well as to better understand, which pollinator plants are popular with bees. We will also work with primary schools, across the country, to enhance understandings of pollinator processes through the project.
As an early career researcher at the University of Glasgow, I am excited to bring together researchers from different areas, along with University of Glasgow students and staff working in collaboration with their community and the University of Cardiff on a project that's impact will be felt for generations. The Spot-a-Bee project aims to gather together citizens, students, researchers and schools from different fields in order to map the plants that bees feed off in city and town parks and gardens. Through this citizen science project it will be possible to identify the often unusual flowering plants that might provide a unique food source for bees. These food sources could be planted by individuals, in their own private spaces, or they might be wild-flowers.
By providing insight into the locations of the plants that support bees, Spot-a-Bee allows us to gain insights not only into the types of plants that support pollination, but also into optimal local growing conditions, both in terms of soil types, planting conditions (for example, planters commonly found in schools) and the wider urban environmental factors that might both help and hinder the flourishing of bee-friendly plants.
As well as collecting scientific data from our communities there is potential for the project to have a much wider societal and scientific impact. The methodology that is used and the way that data can be submitted, includes an already developed web-portal. This web-portal (http://spotabee.buzz) requires additional development to extend it to a national scope, allowing citizens and communities from around the UK to participate.
We also hope to be able to deliver additional educational benefits to our communities, through the expansion of web resources to include additional web pages and resources that will guide teachers on ways they can integrate Spot-a-Bee into their delivery of curriculum. This will enable educators to integrate Spot-a-Bee into school and community programmes.
In these times of Climate Emergency, Spot-a-Bee offers donors and contributors an opportunity to increase our understanding of pollination processes and to have a positive environmental impact on the habitats of bees.
Achieving our target will enable us to make the changes needed for the website to become a national project. If we exceed our target we will then look to develop the app, as well as educational resources to support the use of this citizen science project in Primary and Secondary schools. The educational resource packs that we develop will include a wild-flower seed-mix. If we are lucky enough to receive extra funds, we will expand these educational resources, and seek to bring children and plant scientists together to work on the analysis of the data collected.
Break-down of costs:
Website and educational resource design: This stage will involve the development of the additional Spot-a-Bee web pages and website/database background development and design. Iterative development will ensure that the website and supporting educational resources will be developed through the involvement of Scientists and Social Scientists from the University of Glasgow and Cardiff University. This will ensure that the resulting nationally-focused website is fit for the purpose intended and fully accessible to a range of end users. This state will also involve the development of supporting educational resource packs for use by student teachers during Spring term of 2020.
We will provide some great rewards for anyone who contributes to the Spot-a-Bee project, join us and become part of our journey.
Follow us and find out how we are doing!
You can keep up-to-date with the progress of the project, through social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook), as well as through the news section of the Spot-a-Bee website.
Help us succeed!
You don't need to give money to help us succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog.
In fact, share it with everyone you know as we think it's a great idea, and the more people who know about it, the more likely we are to make this work out brilliantly.
And we know we said you don't need to give money to help us, but we'd love it if you did! Please sponsor us and help make this happen.