Here you will find a number of projects that let you contribute directly to the science of invertebrate conservation. Below are links to Xerces Society projects tracking declining bumble bees, dragonfly migration in North America, and monarch butterfly populations in California. You will also find partner efforts to better understand the conservation status of bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and more.
Current Xerces Projects
Bumble Bee Watch
A collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees by the Xerces Society, Wildlife Preservation Canada, the University of Ottawa, the Montreal Insectarium, the Natural History Museum of London, BeeSpotter, and numerous bumble bee experts. Through this project, you can upload photos, start a virtual bumble bee collection, have your identifications verified by experts, and interact with other citizen scientists. Visit BumbleBeeWatch.org.
Migratory Dragonfly Partnership
MDP is a collaboration among dragonfly experts, environmental organizations, academic institutions, and federal agencies in the United States, Mexico, and Canada working to understand and conserve dragonfly migration in North America. This partrnership is coordinated by the Xerces Society. Specific MDP projects include Pondwatch, which investigates the annual movements of the major migratory dragonfly species in North America, and Migration Monitoring, where volunteers track and report details of fall and spring dragonfly migration flights.
The Xerces Society Western Monarch Count
The Western Monarch Count is a yearly effort of volunteer citizen monitors to collect data on the status of monarch populations overwintering along the California coast. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of a cadre of volunteers, we have over a decade of data demonstrating that monarchs have undergone a dramatic decline in the western U.S. This effort is coordinated by Dennis Frey, Shawna Stevens and Mia Monroe, in collaboration with the Xerces Society. Visit WesternMonarchCount.org.
Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper
The Xerces Society is collecting information on milkweed locations and monarch breeding observations throughout the west. If you have observations of milkweed or breeding monarchs, please submit your data to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper project.
Other Citizen Science Efforts
Note: The Xerces Society is not responsible for external websites or content. While we have reviewed these projects for inclusion, we do not specifically endorse any of these projects, and may not have any association with their organizers.
Pollinator Citizen Science
- BeeSpotter: BeeSpotter collects information from citizen monitors on honey bees and bumble bees in the state of Illinois.
- Budburst: Budburst brings together researchers, horticulturists, and citizen scientists on a shared journey to uncover the stories of plants affected by human impacts on the environment. Budburst tells these stories through data collection, data sharing, education, and personal connections.
- Bumble Boosters: Bumble Boosters is a cooperative project of the University of Nebraska Department of Entomology, the Lincoln Public Schools Science Focus Program, and the Folsom Children’s Zoo. The goal of the project is to create a community of learners to conduct authentic research on bumble bees in Nebraska.
- The Great Sunflower Project: The Great Sunflower Project encourages people from all over the United States to collect data on pollinators in their yards, gardens, schools and parks. With a nationwide effort since 2008, by collecting visitation rates of pollinators to all plants (but especially sunflowers!), this project is helping to establish baseline information on pollination services for the entire country and critical resources for pollinators, while also helping to identify areas of conservation concern. This website includes detailed information on pollinator identification and ecology.
- University of Wyoming Bumble Bee Brigade: The Bumble Bee Brigade is a group of people who collect information when they see a bumble bee, and submit it to the Biodiversity Institute so we know what bumble bee species live in which parts of the state.
- University of Florida’s Native Buzz Citizen Science Campaign: Scientists at the University of Florida are working with citizen scientists to learn more about the nesting preferences, diversity and distribution of our native solitary bees and wasps.
- Vermont Bumble Bee Survey: This project aims to document the relative abundance and distribution of bumblebees (Bombus), as well as the Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica), across Vermont. The survey will make essential data available to landowners, land-use planners, policy-makers, municipalities, and other individuals or organizations making conservation and management decisions.
- Journey North: This website provides information on tagging and monitoring monarch butterflies as they migrate in the eastern U.S.
- Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
- Monarch Watch
- Southwest Monarch Study: The Southwest Monarch Study studies the migration patterns of monarch butterflies in Arizona. Their activities include tagging monarchs, monitoring milkweed populations, and searching for habitats that attract and support monarchs. People of all ages are welcome to participate. Southwest Monarch Study also provides educational programs to raise monarch awareness.
- The Vanessa Migration Project: This website allows for citizens to help monitor the migration of Painted lady butterflies.
Aquatic Citizen Science
- Freshwater Mussels of the Western U.S. iNaturalist Project
- Odonata Central: The OdonataCentral (OC) website collects and verifies photographic records of dragonflies and damselflies across the New World, continuously expanding and making available information about the distribution, biogeography, biodiversity, and identification of Odonata. OC and MDP are sister websites that share data.
- Ohio Dragonfly Survey: The Ohio Odonata Society is working with the Ohio Division of Wildlife to update the original survey that ran from 1991 – 2001. In this updated survey we will be utilizing both traditional collections of specimens and photographic records through iNaturalist. The new survey will run from 2017 through 2019 and will culminate in a lay-person book on Ohio Dragonflies and Damselflies similar to the Ohio Bird Atlas.
Other Citizen Science
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