Bumble bee on a wildflower at the University of Michigan Biological Station. Photos courtesy of Dr. Mary A. Jamieson

PELLSTON, Mich. — The Michigan Bumble Bee Atlas Program is asking for the public’s help to track bumble bees as part of a statewide community science project.

To get involved in the bumble bee conservation effort and become a volunteer, attend a free training session from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS), located at 9133 Biological Rd. in Pellston, Michigan. No experience required.

“Bumble bees play an important role as pollinators, but certain species are on the decline,” said Dr. Mary A. Jamieson, associate professor of biological sciences at Oakland University. “By documenting bumble bee species in your area and uploading photos and data to the Bumble Bee Watch website or app, you can help inform conservation efforts.”

Jamieson and Danielle Dorsen, a Ph.D. candidate at Oakland University, will lead the Michigan Bumble Bee Atlas Program training at UMBS, which is about 20 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge in northern Michigan.

The event starts indoors with a one-hour presentation at Gates Lecture Hall. Participants will then be split into groups and head outside to survey bumble bees throughout the field station campus.

Bring a smartphone or camera and wear clothes and shoes that will be comfortable walking through the woods.

The in-person workshop is provided to help train community scientists on survey protocols. Surveys are carried out during Michigan’s peak bumble bee season, June through September.

All submitted observations will be verified by experts at the end of each survey season and a summary of findings will be posted on the Michigan Natural Features Inventory website and distributed to project participants. The collected data will assist Michigan Natural Features Inventory, land managers and policymakers alike refine current bumble bee conservation practices using evidence-based recommendations.

The Michigan Bumble Bee Atlas (MBBA) was developed by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) and Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) to inform a broader understanding of bumble bee biology, diversity and population trends for species of bumble bees in Michigan.

The MBBA is a statewide community science project where participants are encouraged to actively collect bumble bee occurrence data and associated habitat data to inform bumble bee conservation across the state.

Participants in Michigan will not only be able to contribute to state-level bumble bee conservation but will have the opportunity to inform conservation of bumble bees throughout the U.S. by collecting similar bumble bee and habitat data as in other regions of the country.

Community members of all backgrounds and skill level are encouraged to participate in the MBBA. Community collected scientific-quality data in Michigan will directly contribute to bumble bee conservation in addition to being an excellent opportunity to get out in nature and learn more about bumble bees and their habitats.

Founded in 1909, the U-M Biological Station is one of the nation’s largest and longest continuously operating field research stations. For 115 years, students, faculty and researchers from around the globe have studied and monitored the impact of environmental changes on northern Michigan ecosystems.

Laboratories and cabins are tucked in along Douglas Lake to support long-term climate research and education.

The core mission of the Biological Station is to advance environmental field research, engage students in scientific discovery and provide information needed to understand and sustain ecosystems from local to global scales. In this cross-disciplinary, interactive community, students, faculty and researchers from around the globe come together to learn about and from the natural world and seek solutions to the critical environmental challenges of our time.