Monday, July 27, 2009

Great Sunflower Project- BIG CHANGE: 15 MINUTES AND YOU ARE DONE!

From Great Sunflower Project e-newsletter:

Remember to sample and to encourage more sampling, we’ve changed the time to 15 minutes. We’ve decided to change the protocol. You can now sample for simply 15 minutes. If you have time to do a longer sample, please report it as a second 15 minute samples. I looked at our data and realized that there is a real advantage to have more samples at each site so, I’m hoping you will find the time to do more than one or two 15 minute samples each month. We also realize that many people are doing this with their kids and if your kids are like mine, 15 minutes is an eternity! We’ll soon have a button on the top of the online data entry sheet where you can let us know whether you did a 15 minute or 30 minute sample. We’d prefer 15 minutes. We will be able to use both 30 minute and 15 minute samples together in the same analysis. Please do enter your data online. I'm getting behind in entering the data people are mailing in to me! Be sure to fill out your garden description first.
*Photos!*We are still working on our technology for uploading photos. In the interim, we have set up a group on flickr that you can join. If you upload your photos to a flickr account, you can designate which photos will be part of the Great Sunflower Project group. For us to relate those photos to your data, we will need you to add some tags – your sunflower login name and an id to relate it back to the sample. We’d like the id to be the date written as one word (JUL1509) and then a period followed by the bee number (e.g. 1) So, for the third bee on July 25th, you would write JUL2509.3. We also ask that you find where your photo was taken on the map that flickr provides if your camera doesn’t add the latitude and longitude automatically. You can find the group on flickr at [ ]I can’t wait to see all the photos!
*Ranger Rick needs an interviewee* Sue Heavenrich of Ranger Rick magazine is writing an article on kids doing thesunflower project with their family. If you have someone between the age of 8and 10 who'd be willing to chat with Sue, please email her at She is very nice and used to do bumble beeresearch in Colorado.
*Bumble bees.* I went to a workshop on Bumble bees at the Smithsonian. I was alarmed to discover how severe the declines have been in three of our native bumbles, the western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis), the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombusaffinis) and the yellowbanded bumble bee (Bombus terricola). The decline of these species happened right as some of the commercial bumble bee companies were reporting a disease outbreak in their greenhouse raised Western bumble bees. Robbin Thorp, the guru of all things bumble bee, thinks the timing of the decline suggests that the bees may have escaped to the wild from the greenhouse populations and infected the wild populations. Here in San Francisco, we searched for western bumble bees which historically were the second most common species for two years and never found one. This one of the reasons that I started the sunflower project.
*Sunset magazine* If you have a chance take a look at the August issue of Sunset magazine when it comes out. It will have an article about the sunflower project. We've also been nominated for a GRANT FOR CHANGE by NAU, a small clothing company based in Portland, Oregon. They plan to give $10,000 to an individual or small team working to instigate lasting, positive change. If you'd like to vote for the Sunflower Project, you can do so here. Do take a look at some of the other nominees. I always feel re-assured when I see all the hard work people are doing to make this world a better place. They do ask that you sign in to vote so that no one can vote more than once!I hope you are seeing lots of bees in your yards! I'm still not seeing any in mine. As always, thanks so much for helping.
The Queen Bee

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