Bug, Bee and Butterfly Friendly Annapolis Royal 

This new project, launching in May 2020, will help the Town of Annapolis Royal demonstrate how Town's and other municipalities can serve as leaders in efforts to conserve biodiversity, starting at the foundation of the ecosystem. Through a partnership with Clean Annapolis River Project the Town will work to become a "bug friendly community".

 

Unfortunately, many people have negative perceptions about many types of "bugs", often thinking first of destructive invasive pests, instead of  the important role bugs play in our ecosystems. While bees and butterflies tend to be darlings of the "bug" world, other pollinators such as flies and beetles are not given their due recognition. We want to work to dispel negative myths and change attitudes in order foster biodiversity stewardship of all species (not just the pretty ones). 

 

Recent studies in Canada have demonstrated that we are experiencing both a decline in insect biodiversity and a decline in insect abundance. In Nova Scotia there are 49 species of insect listed by the Atlantic Conservation Data Centre as "critically imperiled", meaning they are vulnerable to extirpation from the province. Several of these species are also listed federally as Species at Risk including the Macropsis Cuckoo Bee (Endangered), Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Endangered), Monarch (Endangered), and Yellow Banded Bumble Bee (Vulnerable).

 

Insects are the building blocks for complex ecosystems, forming the base of food chains. Aerial insectivores, the group of birds that "feed on the wing", are experiencing some of the most rapid population declines across Canada. The conservation and recovery of insect populations will play a direct role in helping these species.The Town of Annapolis Royal  and surrounding area includes several outstanding habitat features including the Annapolis basin and estuary, French Basin Marsh and the Allain's Creek Salt Marsh, one of the largest remaining areas of salt marsh in southwestern Nova Scotia. As a result, Annapolis Royal still supports  several species of aerial insectivores, including: Chimney Swift (Endangered), Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow (Endangered), and Bank Swallow (Endangered).

 

Project Activities:

We are currently reviewing our summer 2020 work plan to adapt it to Provincial guidelines and precautions being taken as a result of COVID-19. At this point in time we are not able to schedule any in-person education or outreach activities, but we will continue to adapt as the situation changes. Stay tuned for updates. 

 

  1. Pollinator habitat creation and enhancement on Town owned and managed lands; 

  2. Support for local residents and business owners to create pollinator gardens and implement landscaping practices that support a wide range of biodiversity; 

  3. Improved understanding of biodiversity in the Town of Annapolis Royal through a citizen science program;

  4. The creation of a guide to the "bugs"of Annapolis Royal using data collected by citizen science volunteers; 

  5. Educational programs for local community members, students and visitors to raise awareness about the importance of insects and highlight the biodiversity and habitats found within the Town of Annapolis Royal. 

Eleanor Ritchie
Marjorie MacKay

Citizen Science Volunteers Needed!

About the volunteer role:

We are looking for a team of community members to help collect photo observations of the "bugs" of Annapolis Royal. This includes insects (bees, butterflies, true flies, beetles, grasshoppers, dragonflies, ants, etc.),  arachnids (spiders, mites, etc.), as well as other arthropods that are generally referred to as "bugs" such as millipedes and centipedes. Basically, if you think it is a "bug", document it!

We would like volunteers to spend at least half an hour per week from June to the end of September documenting as many species as possible and logging their observations using iNaturalist. We would like volunteers to focus on outdoor environments in the Town of Annapolis Royal, but observations taken inside are welcome too. This could involve making observations in your backyard or as part of the other outdoor activities you participate in. It is important that during these times, all rules and precautions regarding COVID-19 are adhered to when participating in any volunteer activities (see volunteer guidelines for details). If you do not live in Town, collecting observations using iNaturalist is still a valuable way to contribute data for use by other researchers and conservation organizations.

You do NOT need to be able to identify the species that you observe. The iNaturalist app will make suggestions of possible species, which may help you to make a positive ID. The community of naturalists who use iNaturalist will also be able to make suggestions once your observation has been uploaded. 

The photos and data collected by the volunteer team will be used by CARP and our project partners when developing educational and outreach materials, in newsletter articles and in social media posts. 

If you cannot commit to volunteering on a regular basis, sporadic contributions to the iNaturalist project are also encouraged. 

Find the iNaturalist project page here: https://inaturalist.ca/projects/bug-friendly-annapolis-royal

E-mail to to get more information

Jump to the buttom of the page for volunteer guidelines and the online registration form

What is a bug?

The term "bug" is loosely used to describe almost any type of very small creature with legs. Among the science community, the term may be used to describe what is known as "a true bug", a group of insects belonging to the order Hemiptera.

For this project we have used the term "bug" as a general, non-scientific term. We are hoping volunteers will collect observation for a wide variety of arthropods, including:

 

Insects (Class Insecta)

It is estimated that there are somewhere between 6 and 10 million species of insects in the world. Insects have six legs and their body has three major segments:

-the head – includes eyes, mouthparts, and antennae

-the thorax – includes legs and sometimes wings

-the abdomen – includes gut, reproductive organs, and sometimes a stinger

Arachnids (Class Arachnida)

The easiest way to recognise an arachnid is to count the legs. They have eight legs and no wings. Not all arachnids are spiders. Other examples are scorpions, mites, ticks, false scorpions, and harvestmen. Arachnids have two main body segments. But these can look like one, as in ticks.

Myriapods (Classes Chilopoda, Diplopoda, etc.)

Myriapods are wingless bugs with lots of body segments. Most of the segments carry a pair of legs (two pairs in millipedes). They typically grow by forming extra segments.

Citizen Science Program Guidelines

  • Volunteers are asked to spend at least 30 minutes/week collecting digital photo observations from June 1- September 31, 2020. This can be done in one 30 minute session or several longer sessions. 

  • Volunteers are encouraged to collect observations in outdoor settings (yards, parks, trails, green spaces, sidewalks, etc.), but observations collected indoors are also welcome.***

    • Volunteers must comply with all Provincial rules and precautions related to COVID-19 when participating in this project. At this time, these precautions include: 

      • You must practise social distancing during all activities. That means staying 2 metres (6 feet) away from people you don’t live with.

      • Plan your activities only with the people you live with. Gatherings are limited to 5 people or fewer.

      • Stay home if you’re feeling sick.

      • Limit non-essential travel. You should use the parks and trails in your local area, if possible.

      • Keep your hands clean. If you have hand sanitizer, bring it with you.

      • Follow cough and sneeze etiquette. Consider wearing a non-medical mask.

  • Volunteers should log their time spent collecting and submitting observations, or any other time spent contributing to this project on the provided form. This form can be submitted to the project leader at the end of the data collection season (September 31, 2020).

  • Volunteers will require an iNaturalist account. To create an account, visit: https://inaturalist.ca/signup

  • If you have not used naturalist before, you can learn more by watching the video tutorials available here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/video+tutorials

  • Volunteers should join the “Bug Friendly Annapolis Royal” project on iNaturalist, which can be found at https://inaturalist.ca/projects/bug-friendly-annapolis-royal

  • Observations can be uploaded directly into the iNaturalist app, or using the web-based platform:

  • If you are submitting observations using the web-based version of iNaturalist, please try to upload observations on a weekly basis or as frequently as is feasible. 

    • Most digital cameras and smart phone cameras collect information such as time and location where a photo is taken. If your camera does not store this information, please record it when you collect your photos, so that it can be entered into iNaturalist. 

    • If you are directly submitting observations using the smartphone app, there are no additional steps required to submit observations. Data such as time and location will automatically populate when you upload your photo. 

  • At the end of the data collection season, a summary of results will be developed based on all of the submission made between June 1- September 31. A copy of this report and any other education/outreach materials developed will be shared with volunteers. 

Bug Friendly Annapolis Royal:
Citizen Science Volunteer Registration 

This project has been made possible thanks to the financial suport of: