Pollinators vs. Pollen-Haters

Do you have seasonal allergies? Does the cloud of yellow seem to follow you wherever you go during the spring and early summer? You’re not alone. Seasonal allergies are a pain for humans but we also need that pollen to survive — we all eat plants and animals that rely on pollinators.

In this activity, we will keep our pollinators in mind by practicing being a landscape designer using native plant species and pollinator-friendly elements! Use whatever art medium (drawing, painting, collage, etc.) you prefer to create your backyard or school garden design. You can come up with a design for any space regardless of where you live–urban gardening to backyard gardens to shaded woods and more!

And remember — lots of creatures can pollinators. We all know about bees and butterflies, but birds and bats are too! Anything that can brush up against plant pollen and spread it to another plant is a pollinator.

A bee enjoys Echinacea and Coreopsis / UGA College of AG & Env Sciences

Follow these steps to create your design:

  • Look at the shady/sunny areas where you live and make note if it’s in full sun, partial sun or shade throughout the day. If you decide to implement your design, check planting timelines for your region.
  • Look at the soil or ground. You may need pots or raised beds for your design if you’re in an urban area or if you have very rocky soil. If you plan to use the ground for your design, check the soil-is it sandy/clay/soft dirt?
  • Look up pollinator friendly plants based on your region.

So go eat some local honey to help with allergies and make those pollinators of all kinds happy and healthy!


Additional Resources: Upcoming event in ORK watershed!

Educator Workshop: Enhancing Your School Pollinator Garden
June 27-28, 2022, 8 am – 3 pm
$30/includes 1 year EEA Membership -or- Free for EEA Members


Activity is open to all ages and meets the needs or can be combined with other activities for the following Georgia Standards of Excellence: 4-6th Grade Science, Visual Arts. Activity can be adapted for older ages and still meet certain standards.

  • VA4.CR.2 Create works of art based on selected themes.
  • VA4.CR.3 Understand and apply media, techniques, processes, and concepts of two- dimensional art.
  • VA4.CR.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the safe and appropriate use of materials, tools, and equipment for a variety of artistic processes.
  • VA4.CN.2 Integrate information from other disciplines to enhance the understanding and production of works of art.
  • VA5.CR.2 Create works of art based on selected themes.
  • VA5.CR.3 Understand and apply media, techniques, processes, and concepts of two- dimensional art.
  • VA5.CR.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the safe and appropriate use of materials, tools, and equipment for a variety of artistic processes.
  • VA5.CN.2 Integrate information from other disciplines to enhance the understanding and production of works of art.
  • VA5.CN.3 Develop life skills through the study and production of art (e.g. collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication).
  • VA6.CR.2 Choose from a range of materials and/or methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan and create works of art.
  • VA6.CR.3 Engage in an array of processes, media, techniques, and/or technology through experimentation, practice, and persistence.
  • VA6.CN.2 Develop life skills through the study and production of art.
  • VA6.CN.3 Utilize a variety of resources to understand how artistic learning extends beyond the walls of the classroom.
  • S4E2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to model the effects of the position and motion of the Earth and the moon in relation to the sun as observed from the Earth.
  • S4E3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to demonstrate the water cycle.
  • S4E4. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to predict weather events and infer weather patterns using weather charts/maps and collected weather data.
  • S4L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the roles of organisms and the flow of energy within an ecosystem.
  • S5L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to group organisms using scientific classification procedures.
  • S5L3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to compare and contrast the parts of plant and animal cells.
  • S6E1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about current scientific views of the universe and how those views evolved.
  • S6E2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the effects of the relative positions of the sun, Earth, and moon.
  • S6E3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to recognize the significant role of water in Earth processes.
  • S6E4. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about how the sun, land, and water affect climate and weather.

Birding Basics

Do you often see or hear birds but don’t know how to identify them? Birding is a safe outdoor activity, and you can use our custom birding bingo to get started! And be sure to come see us at UGA Aquarium for the World Migratory Bird Day celebration. 

More than just pretty animals, birds are an important part of the ecological system, including the Ogeechee River basin. Various species inhabit different layers of the food web — from birds that eat seeds and insects to the most expert hunting predators. They keep populations in check.

They also help spread seeds and pollen which is vital for plant growth. Maintaining a healthy environment for birds to thrive is crucial to the balance of ecosystems locally and globally.

Red-shouldered hawk. Photo by Chris S. Wood, Macauley Library

What is “birding”? 

Birding is the act of birdwatching for recreational, research, or citizen science reporting purposes. Also known as ‘birdwatching,’ it’s the observation of birds in their natural habitats as a hobby or an amateur activity.

Wood Storks. Photo by Mary Ellen Urbanski. Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

I see birds all the time, but I don’t know what I’m looking at. 

Learn what to look or listen for when birding starting with color, shape, flight pattern, body size, bill or beak shape, calls and more. 

Check out these sites for bird guides. 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Birdwatcher’s Digest

Rare birds in the ORK watershed

Northern parula on red twig. Photo by Dan Fein.

I’m enjoying this. How can I get better?

Consider purchasing a pair of binoculars (aka “bins”) and searching out local birding trails or sites. You might also join a local chapter of the Audubon Society, an organization dedicated to protecting birds and sharing resources for enthusiasts.

Audubon Society

Ogeechee Audubon Society

Coastal Georgia Audubon Society

Georgia Audubon Society

Birding trails in Georgia

Always follow the American Birding Association Code of Birding Ethics

American Goldfinch. Photo by Adam Jackson, Macauley Library.

I want to share some of the amazing things I’ve seen. Is there a way to do that?

Engage in citizen science. Download the eBird app for free. It’s a digital way to keep track of the birds you see or hear while birding. This type of citizen science reporting — the collection of scientific data by amateur scientists — benefits the people participating as well as researchers.

Read about Isaiah Scott, birding enthusiast and local student

Adult male Barn Owl. Photo by Shlomo Neuman, Audubon Photography Awards

ORK Birding Activity

  • Plan a birding trip in your backyard or neighborhood park, near a waterway or in a city greenspace.
  • Download eBird and record what you see/hear. If you aren’t sure how to ID a certain bird, you can search through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website by characteristics. 
  • Share your checklists with Ogeechee Riverkeeper through eBird by searching “Ogeechee Riverkeeper” or via ORK’s eBird profile

You may also share your findings and photos through email at info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.

Tag us on social media with your research adventures and use #ORKOutside.


This activity is compatible with Project Wild “Bird Song Survey” activity which is geared towards middle and high school students in science and environmental education. Birding in general can be a fun family/friends outing for all ages, abilities, and environments. 


Activity is open to all ages and meets the needs or can be combined with other activities for the following Georgia Standards of Excellence in science, ecology, environmental science, and zoology.

  • S3L2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the effects of pollution (air, land, and water) and humans on the environment.
  • S4L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the roles of organisms and the flow of energy within an ecosystem.
  • SEC3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to construct explanations of community interactions.
  • SB6. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to assess the theory of evolution.
  • SEC5. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information on the impact of natural and anthropogenic activities on ecological systems.

Earth Month

We are calling on YOU to celebrate Earth Day with us the entire month of April! Come up with creative, fun and effective ways to better your environment and celebrate the Earth.

Here are some of the ways we are celebrating Earth Day :

  • Friday, April 8, you can find ORK at the Russell Union on GS Statesboro Campus as a part of Southern Sustainability week 
  • Saturday, April 16, ORK will be assisting with a private volunteer cleanup on the Vernon River with Asbury Memorial Church
  • Saturday, April 23, join our Earth Day community cleanup in the upper watershed
  • Monday, April 25, come join our public Don’t Litter Lotts Cleanup, in Statesboro
  • Saturday, April 30,  you can find us at Fire Festival at the Mary Kahrs Warnell Forest Education Center in Guyton
  • Saturday, April 30, we’ll be on the Canoochee River during our first members-only event of the year, alongside guides from Ft. Stewart, we’ll explore the Canoochee from kayaks and canoes.

If you visit us at any of these events, or celebrate Earth Month in some other way, send your photos to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or tag us on social media by April 30.

Define a watershed

Come up with your own definition of watershed using clear and descriptive words. The best definition of watershed will win some ORK swag!

The most commonly used definition is: “A watershed is a system of how water flows through an area moving sediment, water and dissolved materials into a common point.”

This concept can be confusing and many of us forget its meaning over time. We’re calling on *YOU* to come up with a creative and easy way to remember what a watershed is!

Submit your definition of a watershed to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or tag us on social media.

Thanks to Connie at Savannah-Ogeechee Canal for the activity idea!

Additional Activity:

The Ogeechee Watershed (see map) has many types of ecosystems within it including freshwater from the Piedmont region, to blackwater rivers and swamps in the Coastal Plain region and runs all the way to the Georgia coast. Include ecological information about your watershed including but not limited to animals, soil types, plant life, human impacts and more.


Activity is open to all ages and meets the needs or can be combined with other activities for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Science.

 

  • S3L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the similarities and differences between plants, animals, and habitats found within geographic regions (Blue Ridge Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau) of Georgia.
  • S3L2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the effects of pollution (air, land, and water) and humans on the environment.
  • S4E3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to demonstrate the water cycle.
  • S6E3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to recognize the significant role of water in Earth processes.

 

 

Water, I Love You

We all know that water equals life, so of course we love water! Put on your creativity cap and tell us *why* you love water. Think outside the traditional Valentine’s celebrations. Use any platform, mixed media or words and share that love this year for Valentine’s Day and the month of February.

Activity is open to all ages. Share why you love water and what it means to you at info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or on social media using #LoveORK.


Extra ways to show you love water

Check out these sites for a few suggestions for how to dispose of batteries, e-waste or items that can be repurposed to see how they can be disposed of properly instead of ending up in the landfill or making their way into our waterways.

 

E-Waste

Goodwill is currently accepting electronics recycling, free of charge! Old wires,  electronics, kids toys, etc. can be donated as e-waste. Verify with your local Goodwill prior to drop off.

Textiles

Did you know that you can recycle textiles at appropriate clothing & shoe drop-off bins? Fabrics, especially those connected to ‘fast fashion,’ are one of the fastest growing materials in landfills, but they don’t need to be. They can be repurposed into other textile materials such as carpet, clothing, blankets, and more.

Guide to recycling textiles in Georgia

Batteries

Recycling or properly disposing of batteries can be confusing. Batteries are recycled in different ways depending on the type. If storing old batteries until they can be recycled, always be separate them by type and tape the ends to help slow the corrosion process. Call2Recycle offers mail-in options as well as a list of places that accept drop-offs.