The Northeast Pollinator IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Working Group has put together a new website with resources for outreach and education related to pollinator ecology and plant-pollinator interactions!
This includes lesson plans developed by PSU postdocs and grad students in collaboration with the Penn State Center for Science and the Schools, as well as some handy “guides”, such as assessing the quality of your landscape or garden for pollinators or identifying the main pollinators in your (Pennsylvania) gardens.
Pollinator ecology provides a charismatic and accessible system in which to explore multiple core subjects in biology, provide opportunities for learning authentic scientific practices, and engage in place-based learning. Pollinator ecology can be studied in rural, suburban and urban landscapes, as pollinators and the flowering plants they depend on for nutrition are abundant in a diversity of landscapes.
The group provides we provide resources for K-12 educators on how they can incorporate pollinator ecology in their classrooms in the following ways:
Creating a pollinator garden.
Creating a pollinator garden on your school grounds can provide an outstanding opportunity to learn about the diversity of pollinators and plants in your region, explore landscape design principles, and learn about soil and water management, biological cycles, and integrated pest management.
Which plants are most attractive to pollinators?
Pollinators and plants represent one of the most important mutualisms on our planet. Nearly 90% of flowering plants use pollinators to move pollen among flowers and individual plants, allowing them to set seed and fruit. Pollinators obtain nectar and pollen from plants, which provides them with their carbohydrates (nectar) and proteins and lipids (pollen).
How do plants compare in terms of their nutritional quality?
The amount and nutritional quality of both nectar and pollen can vary dramatically between different plant species, and they can vary depending on the growing conditions of the plant.
Is my habitat good for pollinators?
Even if you do not have a pollinator garden in your school, you can lead your class in a habitat assessment, to explore the resources available for pollinators and the diversity of pollinator species present in your landscape.
Virus transfer through plant-pollinator foraging networks
Bees are infected with many different viruses. These viruses are shared among multiple bee species.
Citizen Science Projects
There are several citizen science projects which your class can participate in. They include:
- Monitoring the health of managed honey bees through Beescape.
- Monitoring pollinator populations through the Great Sunflower Project.
- Identifying the visitors to curcurbit crops through the Great Pumpkin Project.
The Pennsylvania Pollinator Protection Plan (P4).
The P4 provides information on the pollinators of PA and steps we can take to conserve and expand our pollinator populations.
The website provides an abundance of papers, links, tutorials, manuals, lessons, tools, guides, and other resources in all of the above categories.
The full website is here.