June 7, 2021
Thank you for your interest in the California Bumble Bee Atlas! We’re writing to provide an update on the status of the project. We have been busily preparing to launch this community science project to inventory the bumble bees of California, which builds off the Xerces Society’s successful Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas. Recently, however, we received the news that the environmental compliance necessary to safeguard federally-listed plants and wildlife will not be in place until early August 2021. Unfortunately, until the compliance is finalized we are not able to begin field work. While this means we will miss a good part of the 2021 summer activity period, we are still hoping to have an abbreviated field season in August. In addition, this project will continue through at least 2023, which will provide many more opportunities for volunteers to survey bumble bees throughout the state. We hope you will join us in the coming years to sample during times of year when more flowers are in bloom attracting the state’s bumble bee species!
We currently plan to formally launch the California Bumble Bee Atlas in early August, at which point you’ll be able to access more information via our project website. We will announce online training workshops as August approaches. Participation in one of these workshops is required before you contribute data to the project. They will be offered as either 2 two-hour weekday evening sessions or 1 four-hour Saturday session. If you cannot attend the workshops at the time they are offered, they will be posted to our website so that you can self-train. You can always email me or other Atlas representatives with questions you have about our protocol or bee ID.
We are also planning to offer a series of in-person field opportunities in August to help interested volunteers gain confidence surveying for bumble bees. You do not have to attend one of these to participate, but they will be a fun way to learn more about bees and meet some of your Bumble Bee Atlas colleagues. Stay tuned for more emails from project staff to learn more about these opportunities.
Thank you for your patience as we move closer to being able to launch this important and exciting project- We’re looking forward to working with you in August and beyond!
On behalf of the California Bumble Bee Atlas Team,
Endangered Species Conservation Biologist
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation