The Wild Pollinator Count: Learning about pollinators in our backyard

Backyard and Homeschool Science: Learning About Pollination - An Everyday Story

Wild Pollinator Count: Backyard and Homeschool Science: Learning About Pollination - An Everyday Story

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For Project Group this week, we all took part in the Wild Pollinator Count. The Wild Pollinator Count is a civic science project. Here’s a quick explanation from their website:

“The Wild Pollinator Count gives you an opportunity to contribute to wild insect pollinator conservation in Australia. We invite you to count wild pollinators in your local environment and help us build a database on wild pollinator activity.”

Sounds pretty wonderful, hey? The kids and I often observe and chat about the insects in our kitchen garden and when a friend mentioned the Wild Pollinator Count, I wondered whether Jack and Sarah had thought too much about the relationship between plants and insects. I knew they knew that bees were pollinators, but what about other insects? And here was a wonderful opportunity to look more closely at this incredibly important symbiotic relationship.

Wild Pollinator Count: Backyard and Homeschool Science: Learning About Pollination - An Everyday StoryThere are six children in our Project Group aged 3,5,5,7,7 and 8. We meet once a week for about an hour and a half. There are three parents in the group and we rotate who facilitates the session. This week was my week.

I started our Project Group talking with the kids about the pollination process. These parts of a flower cards are from Montessori Print Shop. I then invited the children to identify some of the parts on this flower puzzle.Wild Pollinator Count: Backyard and Homeschool Science: Learning About Pollination - An Everyday Story

The kids were all keen to dissect their own flowers and see if they could find all of the different parts. Pansy made great specimens; they flower prolifically in our garden and the reproductive parts are easy to find. The kids were able to see most of the parts with a magnifying glass. We also used our microscope (which is really fantastic and I highly recommend it) to take a look at some of the finer details of the anthers and stigma.

And lastly before we headed out, we talked about different kinds of pollinators. I really wish I could share their discussions with you; they are so rich and fascinating. They bounce ideas of each other, one person’s response will inspire another to contribute, they talk over each other with enthusiasm at times and other times, listen very carefully. It’s wonderful.
Wild Pollinator Count: Backyard and Homeschool Science: Learning About Pollination - An Everyday Story Wild Pollinator Count: Backyard and Homeschool Science: Learning About Pollination - An Everyday Story

Then with clipboards in hand, they headed outside to count pollinators. For the Wild Pollination Count, you have to choose a plant and observe that plant for 10 minutes; recording each pollinator that lands on your plant.

And after 10 mintutes, here’s what Sarah recorded 🙂
Wild Pollinator Count: Backyard and Homeschool Science: Learning About Pollination - An Everyday Story

The Wild Pollinator Count runs until the 17th of April, so you still have a few more days to get out in the garden and take part. There is plenty of information on their website. We’ll be sending in our research tomorrow. And if you’re not in Australia, why not get out into the garden anyway? 🙂 We’ve learnt so much about our garden just from 10 minutes of quietly observing.

6 Replies to “The Wild Pollinator Count: Learning about pollinators in our backyard”

  1. What a great way to be involved in some real data collection. My kids will really love this. I’m not in Australia but it’s spring now and a great time to get out and see what insects are in our yard. I can really see this as being the start of a really fascinating project.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh yeah, spring would be a great time to head out and see what’s in the garden. It would be interesting to do the count again in autumn to see how things have changed and graph those results.

  2. Your project group sounds amazing!

    1. Thank you. It is a really wonderful group of kids. It’s definitely one of our favourite times of the week.

  3. Lydia purple says:

    Totally doing this with the kids. My daughter started to take pictures of wild flowers and wants to identify them and we just took apart a flower the other day to identify the parts… So this is a great idea to incorporate. 10 minutes of observing!

  4. Hi Kate, I’m one of the organisers of the Wild Pollinator Count.
    Thanks so much for taking part and for sharing!
    We run the ‘official’ count weeks twice a year (autumn – second week in April and spring – second week in November) and one of the reasons is the wonderful diversity of flowering plants and pollinator insects that appear (and disappear!) across the seasons. Of course you might choose to repeat your counts as often as you like. We’d love to post you a printed (fold-up, laminated) copy of the guide to common pollinators that I see from your photos that you’d downloaded. It’s focus is a little south of you, but there’ll be lots of overlap with the insects you’re likely to see in your garden. Please get in touch if that’s of interest (wildpollinatorcount@gmail.com).
    Thanks again, Karen

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