The purpose of Backyard Biodiversity is to engage South Dakotans with the flora and fauna present in their community, increase their awareness of pollinators and pollinator conservation efforts, and give them the tools to create and conserve pollinator habitat where they live.
Pollinators are both economically important and also in the news because of their imperiled status due to habitat loss, pathogens, improper pesticide use, and environmental changes. A Cornell University study estimated that insect-pollinated crops were worth $29 billion in 2010 (Calderone 2012). Many of the fruits and vegetables that home gardeners grow either require insect pollinators (e.g. squash, melon, and apples) or their yields are improved by pollinator visits. The public is also aware of the problems pollinators are facing from the extensive coverage in the popular press of colony collapse disorder (CCD) in honey bees.
The primary audience for this program is South Dakotans who are concerned about pollinators and interested in being citizen scientists. This project aims to engage them in reporting what plants and animals (especially butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects) they encounter. Understanding the existing biodiversity of South Dakota will help us better formulate future programs, and it will also contribute a record of what pollinators are present for future conservation.
Data collection for the program will be done using paper data sheets and participants may choose to upload photos of some or all of their observations to our Project Noah mission. Training for the data collection will be provided through webinars, in-person workshops, and published articles on iGrow.org.
Amanda Bachmann will serve as the key contact for this project.