THE MARYLAND NATIVE POLLINATOR SURVEY: COMBINING CITIZEN SCIENCE WITH A SPECIMEN COLLECTION TO DETERMINE THE FLORAL PREFERENCES OF MARYLAND’S NATIVE POLLINATORS
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This citizen science project collected data on pollinator visits to flowering plants. Participants were trained, received educational materials, and identification skills were measured with pictorial quizzes. Participants learned and retained identification skills. Bee specimens were collected to compare community composition between observational and collected specimens; community composition differed between data collection methods. The data generated in the citizen science project were used to calculate a pollinator attractiveness score (PAS) for 23 plant species using five metrics: bloom length, visitation rate, pollinator richness and evenness, and specialist value. The field season was divided into three portions: ‘early’, ‘middle’, and ‘late’. In the ‘early’ season Asclepias syriaca scored highest and Thymus vulgaris lowest, in the ‘middle’ season, Asclepias incarnata scored highest, and Thymus citriodorus lowest. Symphyotrichum novae-angliae scored highest in the late season and Rudbeckia triloba the lowest. PAS provides a framework for assessing the relative plant attractiveness to pollinators.