The Great Sunflower Project


Sunflower with small centerHave you heard of The Great Sunflower Project?  It’s “The world’s largest citizen science project focused on pollinator conservation.”  Simply put, ordinary citizens count bees in their yard and report it on the Sunflower Project site.

Gretchen LeBuhn, founder and director of the project, is a scientist in the biology department of San Francisco State University.  She started the project to collect data on the effects of pollination in our own back yards. The site features several interesting articles and videos.  You’ll also find reports on the collected data.  Details and links to the site are at the end of this post.

Bee in the LavenderWhy count bees?

Scientific studies show a decline in honey bee and native bee populations.  Bees are critical to agricultural success and really to life itself. The goal of this project is to obtain consistent results from urban, suburban and rural gardens throughout North America.

The Great Sunflower Project

People all over the country are collecting data on bee pollination in their yards, gardens, schools and parks. We take 15-minute counts of the number and types of bee visits to sunflowers (and other plants). We have been gathering information on pollinator service since 2008, and now have the largest single body of information about bee pollinator service in North America. Thanks to our thousands of observers, we can determine where pollinator service is strong or weak compared to averages.  (Source:

My sunflowers are going to seed, so it’s too late for me to participate this season. I’m going to tuck this away for next spring, and hope others in North America are inspired to join me as well.

What you can do:

  • Plant Sunflowers, preferably Lemon Queen
  • Register and report findings on the site here.
  • Purchase seeds through Renee’s Garden.  She will donate 25% of her proceeds to the project.


6 thoughts on “The Great Sunflower Project

  1. I love your new banner up there Alys! So fresh with the tiny pools of water, are those ‘Baby Tears’? I use to try and plant for the Bee’s because I really worry about them (and us). They seems to love the Delphinium and Monks Hood a lot. I also fancy your ‘Community section there, is that a widget you’ve added? Looks so professional!


    • You notice everything! I love that about you. I’m adding that to my long list of “things I love about Boomdee.”

      After your comment, I was determined to figure out a banner. I realized that I could manually crop to any pixel size in Picasa and it worked! Those are ‘Baby Tears’, one of the best fillers in my book. We have them growing between spaces in some of the paving stones and along the rock wall at the back.

      Good for you for planting for the bees. I was happy to know that so many of what I’ve planted attracts them to our garden. I also checked on the Mason Bee house yesterday, and can see that many of the tubes are full. The wasps also continue to nest. They are so docile, I had almost forgotten about them.

      Monks Hood sounds cool. I’ll have to go look that one up.


      • Docile wasps? Must be that layed back California thing. I was trying to pick up some leaves they other day and one chased me round the driveway relentlessly. It probably looked pretty funny from the neighbours window. Monks Hood or Monkshood (I see it both ways here) is so reliable an needs no stakiing. I had purples and white. The purple always did better. Here’s a good image

        I’ll have to check out Picasa, thanks for the tip.


  2. PS I saw the community widget on another blog, same theme, so I contacted the writer. It was as simple as activating the widget. It draws from followers, as well as people who like or comment, and it rotates. Different names appear at different times. Thanks for noticing.


  3. Pingback: Visiting Renee’s Garden | gardeningnirvana

  4. Pingback: Working Days in the Garden | gardeningnirvana

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