Earthwise Aware (EwA) Pollinator and Insect Program at the Growing Center
Earthwise Aware, a non-profit focused on nature conservation, works to foster ecological literacy and advance the practice of an informed, ethical, and compassionate attitude with respect to nature habitats and animals (wild or in captivity). They focus on protecting biodiversity, bringing communities together through ecological ethics, and citizen science.
As part of their citizen science program, they have several projects in the area that fill knowledge gaps and help biodiversity science locally and globally. Part of EwA's mission––beyond helping scientists––is also to promote science methodology, insect and native plant knowledge in communities, and to broaden a shared cultural understanding of biodiversity science. They also hope to provide a means for people to learn about protocols and data, and to develop tools for evidence-based advocacy.
The EwA Pollinator and Insect Program at the Growing Center
Human activities that destroy or disrupt insect habitats are creating problems for pollinator communities, including significant biodiversity loss. Earthwise Aware is doing work at the Growing Center––and elsewhere in the area––to study and protect pollinators and other insects in Somerville.
EwA is conducting different kinds of surveys to gather data about insects, specifically in urban settings. They have started surveying at Fresh Pond (Cambridge), Mass Audubon Habitat (Belmont), and at the Middlesex Fells Reservation (Medford, Winchester). It will be insightful to include survey data from a very urban area such as Somerville, and the Growing Center, specifically.
If you are interested in surveying with EwA at the Growing Center, there are a variety of ways to get involved, and no prior knowledge or experience is necessary. They will teach you everything you need to know to get started.
Overview of Survey Activities at the Growing Center
Plant Community Assessment: Record the plants of the Growing Center (plant baseline).
Arthropod Occurrence Survey: Photo document the insect population regularly. At first, it’ll be to establish a baseline and understand which order/family/genus and species visit the Growing Center.
Arthropod Abundance Survey: Survey at regular intervals specific trees (and inspect tagged branches in those trees) and count and record any insects that land or feed on it.
Winter Activities: Refine records identification and develop an annual report exhibiting and comparing data from all EwA sites.
To get started, visit the Somerville Pollinator Project page on the EwA website. There, you can learn more about the project and how to get started!