A Community Expedition to Locate the Elusive Red Bee
In September 2020, Cabrillo National Monument—San Diego’s only national park—participated in the 2020 Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz organized by the National Recreation and Park Association. Parks for Pollinators is a national campaign to raise awareness and community involvement in the pollinator crisis through local parks and recreation and like-minded organizations. The association organized events from coast to coast, with 25 states represented from Hawaii to New York. A total of 73 park and recreation agencies participated by promoting the importance of pollinators and habitat to their communities. These groups recorded nearly 23,000 observations, documenting thousands of species of both pollinators and pollinator-supporting plants. Nearly 3,000 people participated in the national BioBlitz to record these findings, and more than 3,000 experts helped identify the findings using the community science platform iNaturalist .
It was during this month-long, concentrated, species documentation effort that park naturalist, Patricia Simpson, made the original discovery of the red-and-black bee with which she was unfamiliar. This observation spurred a community-wide effort to locate and identify the elusive red bee.
Explore the immersive story above to hear about the effort directly from some of its participants.