GeoBioBlitz 2018: Pollinators and the Pollinated

The US Embassy Ljubljana held its 3rd annual GeoBioBlitz from May 25-26, 2018. This year the topic was Pollinators and the Pollinated and timed follow the first Slovenian-initiated UN World Bee Day on May 20! Did you know that many of our agricultural crops and wild plants are dependent on animal pollinators? From commercially managed honeybee species to wild bees, bumblebees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, as well as birds and bats, about one in three bites of the food we eat is dependent on pollinators and the ecosystem services provided by these species adds $24 billion to agricultural crops in the USA alone. However, the declines in pollinators noted by scientists over the past few decades around the world are alarming due in part to the threat to food production it represents at a time when world population is increasing steeply.

Our GeoBioBlitz citizen science project brought together Slovenians and Americans to understand more about pollinators and the pollinated, as well as the threats facing them, in urban, agricultural, rural and protected Alpine environments and to document both geo and biodiversity using the INaturalist app. The bioblitz citizen science approach and the iNaturalist app were pioneered by the US National Park Service and National Geographic in the USA, while the Smithsonian Pollinator Garden “Pollination Investigation” educational panels from Washington, DC, now on display in Slovenian and English at the Ljubljana Botanic Garden, provided an excellent overview of the subject to participants and the general public alike!

The participants in this year’s GeoBioBlitz included teams of Slovenian high school students and their teachers from Gimnazija Vič and II. Gimnazija Maribor, and Tržič Elementary School who were led by a group of experts from various Slovenian institutions, as well as the Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, DC. We followed the story of pollinators and pollinated from the urban environment of Ljubljana, through the Vipava Valley from intensive agriculture to small farms then up to the protected areas in Triglav National Park’s Trenta Valley.

This program was organized and funded by the US Embassy Ljubljana in collaboration with the following institutions and individuals, including many alumni of USG programs, to whom thanks are also due!

  • Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Gardens, Washington, DC, USA
  • University of Ljubljana Botanic Garden, Slovenia
  • Triglav National Park, Slovenia (TNP) – Dom Trenta, Slovenia
  • Juliana Botanical Garden – Slovenian Natural History Museum, Trenta, Slovenia
  • Environmental Protection College Velenje, Slovenia
  • University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Center for Beekeeping, Slovenia
  • National Institute of Biology, Department of Organisms and Ecosystems Research, Slovenia – EU project: LIFE NATURAVIVA Biodiversity – Art of Life
  • Slovenian Forestry Service, EU Project: ALPBIONET2030 Ecosystem Connectivity
  • Institute for Nature Conservation of the Republic of Slovenia, Nova Gorica Section
  • Society for the Conservation and Study of Lepidoptera in Slovenia
  • Centre for Cartography of Fauna and Flora of Slovenia
  • Mr. Franc Sivic, Education in Beekeeping workshop, Šempas, Slovenia

Check out our INaturalist project to see the species we documented…https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/geobioblitz-2018-pollinators-the-pollinated-slovenia
Photos Courtesy of Luka Dakskobler.