November 15th, 2023
Many flowers and plants need pollination in order to reproduce. Bees play an important role in this! In their search for nectar, pollen collects on their tiny, hairy body, and transfers between the flowers, creating seeds! Watch this fun video to learn more!
Now that we understand the role that BEES play in pollination, and the importance of native flowers, let's do an activity!
Time to go outside!
We have a fun GIS activity prepared, and all you need is a mobile device (phone or tablet)! We created an ArcGIS QuickCapture App for collecting flower photos, and geolocating them on a map! Just go to the link (or QR code) below to download the app! If you don't already have it installed, it should prompt you to download the free ArcGIS QuickCapture app. Then the link for our app should load in automatically!
Bee Friendly Plant Tracker App!
Download the app here (for iOS and Android):
For instructions on how to use the app, read the PDF below!
Open the app, then go outside and explore! Search for flowers and classify them either by Color or by the listed Native or Invasive species on our app. Click the button, take the photo, approve the photo, then see it on your map! Send the photos on your map to the Web Map, then view the Web Map via the last button on the app (or via desktop with the link in the PDF instructions).
On the web map, you can see EVERYONE'S FLOWERS! You can make this a take-home assignment, then compare the variety of flowers found. Compare color frequency, native vs invasive dominance, or use the "Identify Me!" button to identify neat flowers with the class later! BEE ADVENTUROUS!
Where are they, and why are they important?
Happy GIS Day!
Bees are like little gardeners that live all around us. They can be found in gardens, meadows, and even buzzing around the flowers in your backyard. Some bees are wild and live in trees or underground, while others might have their own little hives.
Bees have a superpower - pollination! While collecting nectar from flowers, they become covered in pollen - tiny grains of dust. Then when they visit the next flower, some of the pollen rubs off and helps the flower make seeds! And seeds make new flowers.
There are nearly 400,000 different types of flowers in the world. That sounds like a lot! Every area has two different types of flowers:
Native and Invasive Flowers
Native flowers naturally occur in a specific area, like Florida, and have existed in that place for a very long time. These flowers have adapted to the local climate, soil, and other environmental conditions. They play a crucial role in the local ecosystem, and provide habitat and food for native wildlife. Also, native flowers are well-suited to the local conditions, making them more resilient and able to thrive!
Invasive flowers aren’t bad flowers! Instead, it describes their behavior in a specific environment. Invasive flowers come from another place and, when introduced to a new area, might grow and spread rapidly, outcompeting the native plants. They’re often pretty and interesting! But they take up space, sunlight and nutrients that native plants need to survive. Bees rely most heavily on native plants, which means that invasive plants can sometimes be an issue.
In today’s lesson, we have included activities for learning about pollination, and fun ways to locate pollinator-friendly plants! Time to get outside and BEE AN EXPLORER!
It's GIS DAY, so let's BEE MAPPERS!
Maps are an important way to visually explain data! Just like the flowers in the Plant Tracker App, maps can show all sorts of cool information, like where your school is, where your friends live, or even where different kinds of animals like to hang out.
On this special map, you can add layers of information. So, if you want to know where all the parks are in your city, you add a "parks" layer. If you're curious about where certain types of trees grow, you add a "tree types" layer. It's like putting different transparent sheets on top of each other, and each sheet has its own unique information.
Let's say you're studying weather patterns. You can add a "weather" layer to see where it's sunny, rainy, or snowy. Or if you're interested in knowing where people need help, like during a natural disaster, you can add a "help needed" layer.
So, in simple terms, a GIS map helps us see and understand lots of different information all in one place, making it like a super-smart map that tells stories about our world!
You can build your own super-smart maps using ArcGIS Story Maps! We have included a short how-to video to help! Give it a try!
Pollination Game Time!
For an interactive approach to pollination, try this game from PBS Kids!
Nature Cat will take you on an adventure as a bee collecting pollen. You will travel house to house in a neighborhood, learning about different plants and flowers that provide pollen while Nature Cat explains why it’s important!
You can find the game on the PBS Kids website here!