by Erin Roger, ALA Citizen Science Programme Lead

On the coldest day in Sydney in 25 years, I was thrilled to attend the launch of the B&B Highway’s citizen science component of their program. The B&B Highway Program –  spearheaded by Dr Judy Friedlander of PlantingSeeds Projects, aims to provide habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and biodiversity through native plantings and the installation of pollinator habitats such as native stingless beehives, nesting boxes and insect hotels. The program is now in more than 50 schools and community locations throughout NSW and is making inroads in other states throughout Australia.

Schools learn more about pollinators and habitat through participation in the B&B Highway Program which also offers indoor and outdoor, and theoretical and practical teachings about biodiversity.

The June launch celebrated the partnership of CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) and the B&B Highway in enabling citizen science data to flow from the program into the ALA. The aim for the program is to contribute valuable pollinator and plant data so the data is freely available for anyone to use. The program has been set up on iNaturalist so that all participating schools can see their observations under the umbrella B&B Highway Project.

Despite the chill, the launch kicked off with a search of the garden at Ryde East Public School, where a number of young pollinator enthusiasts from different schools had been assembled. While we didn’t find many pollinators, it showed the importance of seasonal sampling for true indication of pollinator diversity. Speeches, snacks and celebrations then followed.

B&B Highway participants looking for pollinators on a cold June day in Sydney

Get involved

For anyone interested in finding out more about the B&B Highway, and its educational resources, habitat constructions and the citizen science component click here. This article also provides an email link for further information on how to have your own school connected into the Highway.

For participating schools interested in contributing to the citizen science initiative, email PlantingSeeds can add your school to the B&B Highway on iNaturalist/Atlas of Living Australia so you can contribute vital pollinator data to a national biobank. PlantingSeeds can also provide a user-friendly guide on how to join the citizen science initiative and upload information.