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Got 'em!

Bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, foraging in manzanita on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)

"Got 'em!" That's the message we've all been waiting for. Several of us...

Bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, foraging in manzanita on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)
Bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, foraging in manzanita on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)

Bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, foraging in manzanita on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)

Bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, takes flight over a manzanita on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)
Bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, takes flight over a manzanita on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)

Bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, takes flight over a manzanita on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)

An early Bombus sighting! Photographer Allan Jones of Davis grabbed this shot of a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, in manzanitas on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)
An early Bombus sighting! Photographer Allan Jones of Davis grabbed this shot of a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, in manzanitas on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)

An early Bombus sighting! Photographer Allan Jones of Davis grabbed this shot of a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, in manzanitas on Feb. 12. (Photo by Allan Jones)

Posted on Friday, February 12, 2016 at 6:16 PM

How Many Overwintering Monarchs in California?

Monarch butterfly feeding on milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

There's good news and not-so-good news about the Western Monarch...

Monarch butterfly feeding on milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Monarch butterfly feeding on milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Monarch butterfly feeding on milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Monarch and a honey bee sharing a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Monarch and a honey bee sharing a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Monarch and a honey bee sharing a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A male monarch on a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A male monarch on a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A male monarch on a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 5:52 PM

First national celebration for citizen science in April

Citizen science is really picking up steam with the White House honoring 12 “Champions of Change” for their dedication to increasing public engagement in science and science literacy and the recent launching of a new Citizen Science Association. This year the momentum continues and everyone will be able to celebrate the first national Citizen Science Day on April 16, 2016, when the Citizen Science Association and SciStarter will promote and inspire organizations around the country to host events in celebration of public participation in scientific research. A major celebration will be held in conjunction with the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. This will kick off a series of citizen science open houses and activities to be locally sponsored by science centers, museums, libraries, universities and schools, and federal agencies nationwide.

What is “citizen science” exactly? Citizen science involves engaging non-professionals in scientific research. While applied across many disciplines of science, including biochemistry, astronomy, and psychology, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' California Naturalist Program (CalNat) specifically empowers participants and partners to use citizen science to inform natural resource management. To understand and protect natural resources, scientists and decision makers often need information over long time periods and across many locations. Citizen science is one crowd-sourced

Naturalists in the Sierra Streams Institute California Naturalist course conduct water quality surveys.
approach to gathering that information. More feet on the ground can translate into more data collection to fill any gaps in knowledge. Because we live in an increasingly connected and technology-driven world, the potential of citizen science to solve real-world problems is considerable. Low-tech ways to engage in citizen science exist, but with the advent of hand-held devices, apps, high resolution camera phones, and Internet connections that know no geographic boundaries, the public is a particularly well outfitted resource for ecological data collection.

The CalNat Program has incorporated citizen science in the training curriculum from the program's inception. One of the program's primary goals is to increase public participation in natural resource conservation and citizen science projects throughout the state. Each partnering organization offering a CalNat certification course must adopt a class citizen science project so that each course participant gains experience in data collection and entry. Course participants are introduced to the interactive, on-line iNaturalist tool, where users can record observations from nature, develop online species lists and journals, meet other naturalists, and contribute to research-grade observations at the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. While some partner organizations already have an active

Back in the lab, Sierra Streams Institute Naturalists learn how to analyze their water samples for macro invertebrates and contaminants.
go-to citizen science project, other partners may decide to choose a project from the CalNat Program's public, vetted online database of California citizen science and PPSR projects, the largest of its kind in this state. The searchable citizen science database is a useful tool for anyone who is eager to explore the myriad of citizen science opportunities, to get or stay involved in a particular field, and to keep developing new skills and interests.

Together, with the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP), we anticipate celebrating the first national Citizen Science Day on April 16 with our 16 scheduled spring California Naturalist courses and the 26 other Naturalist programs around the nation.

California Naturalists contribute to a variety of citizen science projects.
California Naturalists contribute to a variety of citizen science projects.

Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 7:05 AM

Real Reason for Flowers? It's All About Sex

Entomologist Stephen Buchmann talks about the nests of carpenter bees at The Bee Course, an annual summer workshop in Arizona sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History.  (Photo courtesy of Robbin Thorp)

You could say that noted entomologist/author Stephen Buchmann has a thing...

Entomologist Stephen Buchmann talks about the nests of carpenter bees at The Bee Course, an annual summer workshop in Arizona sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History.  (Photo courtesy of Robbin Thorp)
Entomologist Stephen Buchmann talks about the nests of carpenter bees at The Bee Course, an annual summer workshop in Arizona sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History. (Photo courtesy of Robbin Thorp)

Entomologist Stephen Buchmann talks about the nests of carpenter bees at The Bee Course, an annual summer workshop in Arizona sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History. (Photo courtesy of Robbin Thorp)

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 5:24 PM

Bed Bug Management Challenges

Adults and nymphs of bed bugs.

[From the December 2015 issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin] Survey of...

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 3:32 PM

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