I know that not everyone is on the private Oregon Bee Atlas Facebook group. In order to keep everyone linked up we have a new weekly blog to drop some tips and ideas. I welcome anyone in the Atlas to submit material for the blog - send me (Andony) pictures or a short write up on things you have saw, complaints, better ideas, new tools, resources, etc. and we will get it out to everyone else.
1. Oregon Bee Atlas Celebrating National Citizen Science Day
Here is a short article I wrote on the Oregon Bee Atlas for National Citizen Science Day. Share around with friends and neighbors who wonder what you are up to these days.
2. Specimen Records and Preparing Your Pinning Box
We know its been cold and it has been slim pickings for bees. But the slow start is good in that it allows us to get our ducks in a row for our first year.
I want to share two examples of how to keep track of your collection records. The first comes from Michael O'Loughlin from the Yamhill Survey Team. Michael is using iNaturalist for getting his GPS coordinates, but he is also recording those observations on paper (as you all should as well). Notice the 'location' field is not as detailed as we did in training; this is okay, as Michael we can get this information when we are building Michael's insect labels out.
Michael has been using the Avery label stickers on top of his collection vials to keep track of which bees were collected from each sampling event. He puts these labels into his pinning box and they will stay there until we send him location labels that her will add to the pin. In the training video on iNaturalist it shows I am using Avery 5412 labels (5/16 x 1/2"), but I have since gone to the larger Avery 5418 labels (1/2 x 3/4") because it gives more room to write and still fits on a standard collection vial. Jerry with the Benton County Survey Team noted that these labels might not stay fastened to all kinds of vials, so please try it out before collecting.
Here is Ellen Watrous who has done an amazing job catching and labeling her bees in spite of the poor weather. She is using the tags in the back of the binder.
How are things working for you? Send Andony or Jen an image and we can let you know how things are looking.
There are 14 people now using iNaturalist to record their observations. It was a slow week with only seven bees recorded, all by Pat Wheeler with the Benton Survey team. Below are some links for how to use iNaturalist to upload your collection events.
There are three videos: 1) using iNaturalist on your phone to capture sample events, 2) a supplement for iPhones and 3) how to upload paper records using iNaturalist on your home computer. Contact me if you run into any problems.
NOTE: Michael O'Loughlin has picked up on a glitch using iPhones that does not allow you to edit data that has been already entered. Michael has been good enough to bring this to the developer's attention and they are working on it. For the time being, if you need to make a change to your iPhone record while in the field, either: 1) delete the entry and re-enter it or 2) make the changes on your computer when you get home. ALWAYS make a paper backup of your data.
4. PNW Bumble Bee Atlas (Xerces)
The same grant funding the Oregon Bee Atlas has money going to the Xerces Society to survey Oregon for bumble bees. Their project page is now up and groups can adopt a grid to do some sampling. I would encourage each group to adopt a cell, both in the location your group operates and in locations close by. We met with Rich and Sarina from Xerces last week and we will have more information on how to make sure Atlas specimens don't get double counted. In the meantime, please look over the Xerces website and talk with your group about adopting a grid.
5. Oregon Bee Atlas Nest Blocks
We have 250 blocks that will be ready to ship for placement across the state this week. We need places to put these blocks. If you know of locations, please fill out the form below and we will make sure these are out to you by the beginning of May. An instructional video will follow.
6. Eye Candy
Here are some of the amazing images that our volunteers collected this week.