Help Utah pollinators through community science by joining the Utah Pollinator Pursuit

PARK CITY, Utah — There are many types of pollinators found in Utah, with each performing a vital role in creating and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Unfortunately for many, their populations have taken a nose dive in recent years, with Utah’s many bee species being some of the hardest hit. Data on these struggling insects can be hard to come by for researchers making the fight to reverse the decline even harder.

To combat this data problem, SageLand Collaborative, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah State University, The Nature Conservancy, and the Wild Bee Project is coming together to promote citizen science through the Utah Pollinator Pursuit.

The goal is to record sightings of monarch butterflies, Nokomis fritillary butterflies, desert green hairstreaks, Ellis dotted butterflies, bumble bees, and milkweed, in addition to performing habitat assessments. Milkweed is critical to the development of caterpillars as they are their only food source.

The project will last from May through September. Participants can help in one of two ways, with each carrying different levels of time commitment. One option is to become a Site Steward, where surveys will be done at specific locations multiple times throughout the project. The second option is by Out-and-About Surveys, where pollinator sightings from various locations, such as while hiking or in a home garden, can be reported.

Both options have a video with instructions on conducting surveys and reporting data via the Survey123 app. The Utah Pollinator Pursuit website contains guides to identifying bumble bees, monarchs throughout their life stages, and milkweed species.

A bumble bee on a flower.
A bumble bee on a flower. Photo: TownLift // Kevin Cody.

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