American Spring Live: The Great Sunflower

What is a citizen scientist?

Quick Information

Interested In The Health Of Your Pollinator Community?

Become a citizen scientist and join The Great Sunflower Project!

Step 1: Start by recording the date, time, and location.

Step 2: Choose the plant you are going to watch and write down its name (common name or scientific name).

Step 3: Start your timer and record the number of visits your chosen plant gets from pollinators.

  • If you can identify the pollinator, write it down! However, if you are uncertain that’s ok, it is not required.
  • If a specific pollinator visits more than once, write it down. The project is interested in the number of visits, rather than the number of pollinators.

Step 4: Observe the plant for at least 5 minutes, then enter your data here!

To see other citizen scientists complete The Great Sunflower Project watch American Spring Live.

Fun Facts

Sunflower, Did You Know?

  • Native Americans used sunflowers for food (as oil & in bread), medical ointments, and body paints.
  • In 2014, the tallest sunflower was recorded at 30 feet, 1 inch in Germany.
  • In French, sunflower translates to “tournesol” which means “turned sun”. This referring to the sunflower’s special ability to be able to turn itself to face the sun.

Protecting Bees

Thanks to citizen scientists, The Great Sunflower project has made a major finding based on data collected from this project. Data collection found the following:

  • When neonicotinoid pesticides are present, there is a decrease in visitation from honey bees. (This decline is not simply due to climate or modification of the natural environment.)

Want to purchase sunflower seeds not treated by neonicotinoids? Visit Renee’s Garden Seeds and use coupon code FR225A and 25% of the proceeds will be donated to The Great Sunflower Project!

Pollination, Did You Know?

  • Pollination is the transfer of pollen from one flower to another. So, how does it transfer? Well, the sticky pollen that flowering plants contain clings on to insects, birds, and smalls mammals. Therefore, when that species goes to another flower that sticky pollen is still with them.
  • The Honeybee does more pollination than any other insect. This is another reason why it is so important to protect our bees.
  • Why is pollination important in general? Well, pollination is necessary for many plants to reproduce. Without plants, we would lack many essential items like food, fiber, shelter, medicine, fuel. Most importantly, oxygen.

Want to learn from one of the best? Watch American Spring Live (episode 2, 18:40) and listen to Phil Torres, insect scientist, give a breakdown of pollination.