Scientific research is an important part of A Rocha’s work around the world. Here in Nashville, we invite people to become citizen scientists. Citizen science is a way for anyone to notice and report the plants, animals and insects they see around them and contribute to the broader body of scientific knowledge.
iNaturalist is an online community that allows you to use a mobile device to upload photographs of insects, animals, and plants for mapping and identification by a global network of naturalists, scientists, and citizen scientists. Starting with our Spring 2017 Pollinator Garden Workshop, we’re launching a project on iNaturalist to engage community members in making a positive difference to biodiversity right where you live. We invite you to join iNaturalist and link to “Nashville Pollinator Project” under the “Projects” tab. Any images you upload to this website will not only become part of our Conservation@Home data but will contribute to city-wide efforts to track biodiversity and connect you to a global community of scientists and naturalists who can help identify what you see in your yard.
Our hope is that iNaturalist would help Nashvillians increase their knowledge of the biodiverse life around us, as well as document new life in their yard as they add nutrient rich native plants and follow other sustainable landscaping practices (through efforts such as the pollinator workshop).
These pollinator lists below will also help you begin to recognize new visitors to your yard as you garden to support for biodiversity.
There are 4,000 documented species of native bees in the United States (USDA Forest Service). Our hope is to gather data about broader categories (bumblebees, carpenter bees, sweat bees, mason bees, digger bees, and honey bees). If you would like to learn more about specific bee species to identify those you see in your garden, click here.
Moths are also important pollinators. Two of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly are by the wings and the antennae. Moths rest with their wings at their sides, while butterflies rest with their wings upright. Butterflies have clubbed antennae, and moths do not. Moths are also nocturnal (Easy Science for Kids). For help identifying moth species, click here here.
Beetles are essential to pollination for many flowers. When pollinating, however, they often eat petals, so while they help plant propagation, they are not always beneficial to a garden’s looks (USDA Forest Service). Click here for a list of beetles you might find in Tennessee.
“Green June Beetle – Cotinis nitida, Herndon, Virginia” by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Other Beneficial Insects
Other Beneficial Insects
Pollinators are not the only beneficial insects you will find in your garden. Others, like lady bugs, can help control pests like aphids. To learn more about different kinds of beneficial insects and what plants attract them, visit the Permaculture Research Institute Permaculture Research Institute and the Michigan State University Extension Michigan State University Extension.