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UPP bins and bee observers!

2013 July 5
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by marie

A quick update on the project!

  •  UPP bins (containing a tuning fork, a graduated cylinder, laminated instructions, etc.) have been delivered to almost all UPP locations (in your shed or other agreed-upon location if your location does not have a shed)! The bins have giant UPP tomato/bee stickers on them, so they’re hard to miss! If you do not yet have a UPP bin,  if your bin is missing an item, or if you need a replacement for any other UPP supplies (stakes, netting) let us know by filling out this survey! 
  • We have UW undergraduate interns doing bee observations at many of the UPP locations around the city! If you see them watching your plants, please say hi! And if you have any questions or comments about this, please let us know!

Also, an important thing to remember, now that tomatoes are starting to form and ripen: These Gold Nugget tomatoes will be SMALL/CHERRY AND YELLOW WHEN RIPE! This is how they will look  when you need to pick them and start collecting/submitting data on tomato number and volume from ALL of your plants (and also when they will be good to eat!)!

Instructional Videos: Netting and Tuning Fork!

2013 May 30
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by marie

We have just posted two new videos made by our fantastic Undergrad Research Team showing how to put up pollinator exclusion nets (white treatment) and how to use the tuning fork to hand-pollinate the plants (pink treatment)! Check them out under the “Instructional Videos” tab at the top of the page!

Tracking Participants at YOUR P-Patch!

2013 May 7
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by marie

Good news: We’ve had an overwhelming response from folks at P-Patches across the city!
Bad news: We have finite plants and supplies, and need to prioritize locations where we can get the data we need (P-Patches with 6 participants or more).

In the table below you can track how many participants there are in your P-Patch. P-Patches with 6 or more participants, or that have educators participating, will be guaranteed tomato plants. We will still try to give as many folks as possible plants to participate in UPP, prioritizing P-Patches with more participants, but can’t guarantee that everyone will receive them. To make sure you get plants, recruit your fellow gardeners in person or via your P-Patch listserve and have them email us! We’ll notify everyone on Saturday about who will get plants for sure! Make sure to RSVP to one of our Tomato Giveaway events by Friday 5/10 at 6pm!

Locations highlighted in yellow are already guaranteed plants! Those that are ALMOST there are highlighted in a lighter color!


2013 May 2
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by marie

Our Gold Nugget cherry tomato plants are ready for you, citizen scientists! We’re kicking off UPP’s second year with  two upcoming tomato giveaway dates! At both, you can pick up your tomato plants, get stakes, netting, and other materials for participation, learn more about pollination, and get further instructions about how to submit data (online, once a week for the growing season!) and grow your plants. The giveaways are:

  • North Seattle: Sunday May 12th from 1pm-3pm at the UW Botany Greenhouse (NOT the CUH Greenhouse)
  • South Seattle: Sunday May 19th from 10am-1pm at Bradner Gardens Park 

MAKE SURE TO LET US KNOW WHICH P-PATCH YOU ARE IN AND WHAT YOUR PLOT NUMBER IS (so our bee observers can watch all the plants)! Also, make sure to let us know if you are an educator when you arrive so you can receive your extra plants and materials.

Please spread the word in your P-Patch- we need at least 6 participants per P-Patch to get the data we need to impact urban bee conservation!

PARKING DIRECTIONS FOR UW BOTANY GREENHOUSE EVENT (Sunday May 12, 1pm-3pm)- the greenhouse is the red marker and parking areas are the blue markers on the map below. Click “View Directions to UW Botany Greenhouse in Larger Map” link below for written directions and parking lot numbers. PARKING IS FREE AT UW ON SUNDAYS, but please be mindful of any signs that may restrict parking to permit-holders!

View Directions to UW Botany Greenhouse in a larger map

Meet the New Wrap Star!

2013 April 25
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by Tessa Forbes


Endangered Species Chocolate to Feature a Bumble Bee

We won Endangered Species Chocolate’s “Vote New Faces for New Flavors” campaign, and a bumble bee will be the new wrap star! The Xerces Society will also receive a $1,000 donation from Endangered Species Chocolate. This is fantastic and was only possible because of a huge outpouring of support. In the end, the bumble bee got well over 18,000 votes!

Thank you to Endangered Species Chocolate for including the bumble bee and Xerces in this campaign. Congratulations to the Marine Mammal Center, whose monk seal was the other champion and will also appear on a chocolate bar.

Check out the Xerces Society website,, for more information about them and all the great work they do!

Also, be sure and check out Endangered Species Chocolate’s Facebook page for more about their products!

Source: Endangered Species Chocolate’s Facebook

Gold Nugget tomatoes for UPP in 2013

2013 April 20
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by Tessa Forbes

Last year we gave everyone ‘Sungold’ tomatoes.  The problem was that ‘Sungold’ tomatoes are indeterminate. They grow long; they grow tall and just keep on growing all summer long and some refused to stay within their bee-excluding netting. So we learned. This year we’re using ‘Gold Nugget.’ It is still a cherry tomato but is determinate and determinate tomatoes typically max out at 3-4’ so we’re hoping this year’s plants stay in their netting where they belong.

Territorial Seeds has this to say about ‘Gold Nugget’:

“60 days. Always among the first to ripen, Gold Nugget attains an unusually rich, sweet flavor when ripe. Vigorous and determinate, plants are loaded with 3/4 inch, round golden fruit from early in the season ’til frost. Bred by Dr. Jim Baggett at Oregon State University.”

Important Urban Pollination Project Announcement: Attention All Seattle P-Patch Site Coordinators and Gardeners!

2013 April 11
by susan

Native bees, tomatoes, and tuning forks, what do they have in common?

We are looking for P-patch gardeners to participate in the second year of the Urban Pollination Project! Please come to our informational meeting to find out how you and other members of your P-patch can get free Gold Nugget tomato plants for your garden and, at the same time, participate in research on native pollinators!


DATE: Sunday, April 14



            LOCATION: UW Seattle Greenhouse,

Here’s a URL for the campus map in case you get lost:


Enjoy the wonderful collection of amazing plants from around the world at the UW Greenhouse and learn more about our local gardens.

We would love to have at least 6 participants per P-patch, but the meeting and participation is open to all P-patch gardeners within the City of Seattle. Parking on campus is free on Sundays! 

Vote for the Bumble Bee on the New Endangered Species Chocolate Wrapper!

2013 April 11
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by susan



Make them the New Wrap Stars!


Endangered Species Chocolate is seeking two new animals to be featured on their chocolate bar wrappers. The choice will be made based on voting on Facebook. We need your help to make a bumble bee one of the two new wrapper stars!


Endangered Species Chocolate selected six animals that represent six conservation organizations and the bumble bee (representing the Xerces Society) is one of them! Endangered Species Chocolate is also making a $1,000 donation to the two winning organizations. That’s incredibly generous, but the main prize is a bumble bee on a wrapper! Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see a bumble bee on the shelves of grocery stores across the country? It could bring a massive amount of publicity to the problems they face and the need to protect them.




Voting continues until 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, April 21, and you can vote for the bumble bee once a day. Repeat voting will make all the difference, so make it part of your daily routine.


When you’ve voted, share the Facebook link with your friends and networks. The other five animals all have their supporters too, so it’ll take some effort to win.


If you want to learn more about the Xerces Society and all the great work they do, just go to!



UPP public talk at UW Program on the Environment

2013 January 28
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by susan

On Thursday, February 7 at 12:30, Marie Clifford and Susan Waters will give a public talk on the Urban Pollination Project at the UW Program on the Environment, John M. Wallace Hall, 3737 Brooklyn Ave NE.  This is a lunch presentation describing the project, our latest updates, and expansion for this coming growing season.  All are welcome!

A new year of bees and tomatoes!

2013 January 18
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by susan

Many, many thanks to the generous donors who have helped us gain funding for the Urban Pollination Project this year!

We look forward to a great year with many gardeners, student volunteers, tomatoes, and bumblebees!  This year we expect to collect much more data, toward our goal of determining how pollinators are doing in urban Seattle gardens, and whether pollinator populations are limiting our food crop production.

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming neighborhood presentations on pollinators and food.  Please contact us at to set up a free presentation in your Seattle neighborhood!