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About the Urban Pollination Project (UPP)

2012 April 26
by marie

The plight of pollinators
Like the European honey bee, our native bees are also declining (bumble bees and sweat bees, for example). Native bees do a lot of important pollination work. Up to 75% of crop species benefit from bee pollination, and much of these benefits stem from native bees. As interest in urban gardening is increasing, it is important to know whether these gardens are reaching their production potential. A first step toward this goal is to identify the bees present in our urban gardens.

We need your help
A group of scientists at the University of Washington is starting a citizen science project in Seattle’s P-Patches. Citizen science involves volunteers in research activities. Citizens benefit by learning more about pollination in their own gardens, while scientists benefit because they receive help collecting data to complete projects that otherwise would not be possible.
The project
What bees are present in Seattle’s urban gardens?
Is crop yield low because of insufficient pollination?
Crop & pollinators: Sungold cherry tomatoes and bumble bees
• Effective pollination of tomato plants requires bumble bees Size of tomatoes is related to how well they are pollinated
We will distribute plants to interested Seattle P-patch gardeners.
There are two ways to participate:
1. Plant 2 of our tomato plants in your P-Patch plot, water them, count the number of tomatoes each plant makes, and measure some of the tomatoes (see protocol for details – we provide all materials and you get to eat the tomatoes afterwards!)
2. Get trained to recognize different pollinators and collect pollinator observation data at tomato plants

If you are interested in participating, email us your name and P-patch to urbanpollinationproject@gmail.com. Time contributed to the urban pollination project will count toward your P Patch’s monthly 8-hour volunteer requirement.