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Kate Tweedy of Little St. Simons Island conducting a BAFA training for partners and citizen scientists. Image: St. Simons Land Trust
Pollinators are facing stresses all over the world such as habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. In the state of Georgia specifically, where experts determined that the annual value of pollination is over $360 million, Butterflies of the Atlantic Flyway Alliance (BAFA) was formed to bring together conservation land managers and citizen scientists throughout the state to collect data on pollinators. Through five years of surveys in the Coastal Georgia counties, BAFA will gather the information necessary to create land management recommendations for property owners and managers. Collected data will include migratory movement and nectar and host plant utilization.
Additionally, this year, environmental groups and citizen scientists are taking the health of pollinators across all of Georgia into their own hands by conducting the first-ever statewide pollinator census which will create a count of the bees and butterflies that land on flowers in yards, parks and at schools.
The Impact: Species like the Palamedes swallowtail butterfly depend on the red bay tree that’s found in the maritime forest of Georgia. Unfortunately, the red bay tree population has dropped significantly since 2002 thanks to an invasive ambrosia beetle which bores into the tree, leaving behind a fungus causing the tree to die back. The tree will continue to sprout, but will never reach its full size again. BAFA partner, Cannon’s Point Preserve on St. Simons Island, is working to better study its native population of red bay trees and ensure that it stays healthy for the Palamedes swallowtail to reproduce.”
Palamedes swallowtail butterfly. Image: Stephanie Knox, Preserve Manager at Cannon’s Point Preserve at St. Simons Land Trust
Why This Matters:Nearly all of the data collected through the initiative is accomplished by citizen scientists, people from the local community who joined BAFA to learn more about their local pollinators and to help ensure butterflies have a bright future in coastal Georgia. Through data collection, public engagement, and future land management recommendations, BAFA aims to safeguard sustainable butterfly populations. Plus, through a network of citizen scientists, the importance of conservation is instilled in communities and also passed on to younger generations. For small species like pollinators, they often need the help of the people in their communities to ensure their health and survival–so become a citizen scientist in your own community!
This morning a major global effort to finance nature gets a huge “deposit” as Ministers from Germany, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Canada, and Norway, as well as business leaders, UN leaders, and major philanthropists, promise to spend billions to safeguard biodiversity.
Why This Matters: Last week was Climate Week and this week it is nature and biodiversity’s turn at center stage.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer Monday, Botswanan officials announced their findings following an investigation into the sudden and mysterious deaths of 356 elephants. The investigation found that neurotoxins caused by an algal bloom in a large rain puddle poisoned the animals. However, many conservationists remain skeptical, largely because the government has yet to release […]
A trio of humpback whales was trapped for a few weeks well inland in an Australian river crawling with crocodiles — something never witnessed before, according to CNN. The whales caused quite a stir — they were stranded in the murky East Alligator River in Kakadu National Park in Australia and could not find their […]
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