Insects are declining globally. Recent research shows that insect declines of 1-5% can be detected using Malaise traps over a 1 – 5 year period. Our project will engage community members in a multi-year citizen science project to collect data on insects in NL while also providing high-quality environmental education opportunities. Our hope is that this project can serve as an incubator project to establish a Newfoundland and Labrador Master Naturalist Program, which would provide high-quality environmental education to interested members of the public.
There are three objectives related to this project: a) improve environmental literacy around insects and insect decline; b) promote citizen science and connect members of the public with research efforts in NL; and c) foster pro-conservation attitudes through hands-on learning. We will do so by developing a citizen science-based insect monitoring program; develop and deliver public lectures on insect identification, ecology, and conservation; host bug photography events; and host a public Moth Night. This pilot project will also support international efforts to monitor insects across North America, conducted by the Department of Biological Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.