BuzzNet Appleton Pollinator Project

This project is a collaboration between Lawrence faculty and undergraduate students, along with permission the Appleton city park system and the managers of other local green spaces, to promote the presence and study native pollinators. An important aspect of this project is community outreach and the involvement of citizen scientists as well as producing conventional scientific research. This project will ultimately showcase our city’s interest and dedication to achieving ecological and urban sustainability goals.

             In Wisconsin alone more than 350 unique species of bees have been collected, but estimates suggest that as many as 600 species can occur in the state. Each of these native bees fills a different ecological niche and many have very specific mutualisms with the plants they pollinate. Over 70% of the species that occur in Wisconsin are solitary bees, meaning they do not build communal hives, but rather build small individual nests and produce only a few brood (offspring) over the course of the year. In Appleton, native bees are responsible for pollination services.  Native bee presences in the city ensure that private and community gardens are esthetically pleasing and productive.

            However much of the native bee biodiversity throughout the US is in rapid decline. Though there are no single causes of native bee decline, the competing stressors include: loss of habitat, extensive overuse of non-specific pesticides, competition with non-native species, disease, parasites and climate change.  One of our primary objectives is to ensure that native bee species are protected in Appleton, so that the city can continue to benefit from their important ecosystem service.

            Our project entails planting and maintaining pollinator gardens to increase food source availability for native pollinators. Along with this, bee HIVES are being built with a variety of man-made and natural materials. These honey comb shaped structures are designed to provide habitat space for a variety of native bees. Once we have deployed all of this, along with signage that explains our project, the citizen science will begin. We have an app in the works that will allow individuals to take georeferenced images of pollinators seen at our field sites, while playing a pollinator themed game. Through clever experimental design, this project finds a way to simultaneously create a greater understanding about native bee populations in our areas, works to conserve those populations, and create a community enthusiasm and interest in native pollinators and what they can do to help.


But that’s not all: Just in case good pollinator karma isn’t enough of an incentive to give to our project we have a few incentives.


·      $10 donation: Native flowers seed packet with a native bee book

·      $25 donation: Native bee book, native flowers seed packet, bee swag

·      $50 donation: Mini mason bee box

·      $100 donation: Two panel bee box

·      $250 donation: Your own 6 panel beebox or sponsor a bee HIVE

·      $500 donation: Your own 6 panel beebox and sponsor bee HIVE


Israel Del Toro
Appleton, WI
Lawrence University of Wisconsin
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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