Thanks to all of our great volunteers who participated in our first collection. Despite the weather changes, it sounds like we had a successful collection. We hope you had some fun - we can't wait to see your specimens! Send those in when you can. As soon as we get some more information about the species we collected, we'll be sure to post those here. Also, please feel free to send in any pictures you took so we can put them up on the blog. We're sure other folks would like to see them!
Here are some thoughts post-collection:
1) RAIN POLICY: From here forward, it is best to abort the sampling mission in the event of rain, if possible. If the bowls have already been set out and the rain comes later in the day, collect whatever is in the bowls and end the sampling. If you wake up to rain on the specified collection day, don't even bother to set the bowls out -- just wait until the next sunny day. We will, of course, try to let everyone know if we're going to cancel the collection due to rain, but we're spread across a fairly wide area and it's entirely possible that it may rain buckets on the south side and not rain a drop on the north side.
2) COLLECTION DAY: We were overly optimistic that we could (and should) have everyone do the collecting on the same day, as is evident in the protocol. If you're unable to perform the sampling on the day that we designate as the "official" collection day, it's perfectly acceptable to do it on the next sunny day, or the NEXT next sunny day. If you do need to stretch a collection day, please be sure to note that on your data card.
3) BEES vs. FLIES: Not all bees are large and colorful like the trademark bumblebees we commonly think of. As such, don't be discouraged if you don't find one of these big, fuzzy creatures in any of your bowls. It's important that you strain and send in ALL the insects that you find in your bowls, even if they don't look like bees. You would be surprised how many bees actually look like flies, and vice versa.
4) HELP LINE: We have not provided a phone number in the event that questions arise that require time sensitive answers, such as the onset of the rain yesterday. We will provide a number (or two) in the future so you can reach us directly, if necessary.
Thanks for participating! Please send in your pictures and stories