Students’ Research Work With Project Bee Watch Showcased at Ecological Science of America Conference Monday, September 16, 2019
"As an undergraduate student, this is a distinguished honor. I’m ecstatic to reach this level in the earlier stages of my educational journey! Now that I know the type of research that goes into projects like Project Bee Watch, I feel better prepared for my future."
At the Ecological Science of America 2019 conference in Louisville, Ky., Environmental Science Professor Matthew Opdyke, Ph.D., presented the work he and his students Paula Ambrose ’20, and Keri Rouse ’14, 19, did with Project Bee Watch, a local citizen project to assess the status of pollinators in the region.
"I started Project Bee Watch in 2018 with a Social Impact Grant from Point Park University's Department of Community Engagement to assess the status of pollinators in Allegheny County. Since then, the project has grown to include 41 citizen scientists and partnerships with Allegheny Land Trust, Latodami Nature Center with Allegheny County Parks Department and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy," Opdyke said.
Opdyke’s presentation in Kentucky highlighted how the group he led worked with local partners to determine flower preference of pollinators while educating the community on the importance of pollinators.
“With Dr. Opdyke’s guidance, I learned an abundant amount of skills that will carry me smoothly towards my career in the field of research and professional life. I was fortunate to have some of the data I recorded published in Dr. Opdyke’s report on pollinators, and also was noted as a co-author on this piece of work," explained Ambrose, a graduate of Winters Mill High School in Frederick, Md.
"With my work and data being displayed at conferences, I am receiving additional exposure for the time I spent in this field of research,” she added.
“Through my work with Project Bee Watch, I saw my background in communication and public outreach merge with my graduate studies in environmental science. Many positions call for diverse skill sets, and my work with Project Bee Watch ranged dramatically — from conducting fieldwork and training volunteers to developing a logo and outreach video,” said Rouse, who graduated from Hempfield Area High School in Greensburg, Pa.
Ambrose added: “As an undergraduate student, this is a distinguished honor. I’m ecstatic to reach this level in the earlier stages of my educational journey! Without joining Dr. Opdyke and my Allegheny Land Trust internship, this achievement would have been much more difficult to pursue. Now that I know the type of research that goes into projects like Project Bee Watch, I feel better prepared for my future.”
Additional Promotion of Project Bee Watch
On Sept. 6, Opdyke and Rouse presented the work done for Project Bee Watch at Point Park University’s Community Engagement Institute.
Additionally, Opdyke will share results of the Project Bee Watch study at the Latodami Nature Center’s 50th Anniversary Sept. 28 and at the Natural Areas Association conference in October.
“Presenting at conferences like the Community Engagement Institute on the expansion of Project Bee Watch can motivate other professionals to apply citizen science and other project methods in their own projects. Citizen science makes understanding an issue like pollinator decline a personal endeavor for volunteers as they become a vital part of the research," Rouse explained.
Opdyke added: "Our citizen scientists are doing more than just collecting data, they are ambassadors for promoting the protection of pollinators and their habitat. Project Bee Watch will provide critical data on the status of pollinators in this region, of which there is little of in urban areas. We will also make our data available to organizations interested in having data that support recommendations for wildflowers that attract pollinators."
Learn More About Project Bee Watch
To learn more about Project Bee Watch, visit Opdyke's environmental lab website and read the abstract “Project Bee Watch: Increasing the Awareness of Pollinators through Citizen Science."
Also, watch this video created by Rouse in collaboration with Opdyke:
As a professor at Point Park University, Opdyke has received external research grants to fund his research with students and send them to international conferences. Recently, Opdyke’s research on lichens was featured on the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s blog with the title "Don't Overlook the Lichens."
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