Flowers for Bats campaign

Welcome back to another year of the Flowers for Bats campaign ! Your observations of flowering of nectar plants used by the lesser long-nosed bat are helping the US Fish & Wildlife Service learn how nectar resources are changing over time.

We have some exciting additions to the campaign for this year - we have added Agave americana to our list of species available for monitoring. This is a common plant found in yards across Tucson. I have one in my own yard that has just sent up a flower stalk. I'll be sorry to lose the plant after it's done flowering, but excited to track its flowers in the meantime!
We have also added two additional columnar cacti - cardon cactus ( Pachycereus pringlei ) and organ pipe cactus ( Stenocereus thurberi ) to support our partners at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Bat Conservation International.

We welcome you to find a saguaro or agave near you to monitor for this year. We will also have Adopt-a-Trail sites available in the mountains surrounding Tucson where observers can track flowering of agave. Stay tuned for more details in our next message.

Need a refresher on how to observe as part of this campaign? Join us for a Flowers for Bats training at the Tucson Botanical Gardens this Friday, April 19th from 4 - 6 pm . The $15 registration also covers your admission to the gardens, which are open until 8 pm. Register here.
How to get started
1. If you have not already done so, set up a site and add your plants to it in  Nature's Notebook . To see which species are available, visit the Flowers for Bats campaign page .
2. Start checking your plants for flowers or flower buds and open flowers . Note that once you see flowers open, you should continue to report a "yes" for flowers or flower buds as well as for open flowers .

3. Report your observations . Periodically log into your Observation Deck and transfer your observations from your paper data sheet into the online reporting system.

Did you know?  You can enter your observations directly using our mobile apps for Android or Apple devices.
When to start looking for flowers on your plants
We recommend checking your saguaros for flower buds now. Agave americana may also be sending up flower stalks. For Agave deserti, parryi , and palmeri , start checking plants in May.

A recommended schedule for monitoring is below. Remember, for saguaros and other columnar cacti, you should tag individual plant and monitor the same plants over time. For agave, you should keep watch for flower stalks and then once you see a stalk, register the plant in Nature's Notebook . If your agave occurs in a group of plants, you can register these as a "patch" when you add your plant into the system.

Don't hesitate to contact with any questions!
Remember that your "no" reports prior to the first "yes" are very valuable, so start checking your plants now!  In our next message, we'll check in on your reports of Flowers for Bats species.
Earn your Flowers for Bats badge! You can earn this badge by observing one of the Flowers for Bats agaves or columnar cacti once a week for six separate weeks in the same year. See it on your Observation Deck .

Thank you for your contributions to this important project!
Erin Posthumus