September 29, 2009. Looking for a worthy fall project to engage youngsters in outdoor activity? Check out the Lost Ladybug Project. It’s another of those citizen scientist programs – like Project Budburst, Firefly Watch, and Frogwatch USA I noted in previous posts. Lost Ladybug asks individuals of all ages to watch for and photograph ladybugs that frequent the area in which they live or work. Then the organizers want everyone to upload photos to the Lost Ladybug website so they can be identified and mapped along with thousands of other ladybug photos.
The project began a few years ago, as a coordinated effort between 4-H Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and researchers at the Cornell Institute for Biological Teaching, at Cornell University in New York. Since inception, the project has now grown into nationwide effort.
Go to www.lostladybug.org to see all the project details. There you’ll find some cool, kid-focused projects and information, all centered on finding, photographing, and learning more about ladybugs.
This effort tickles my gardener’s heart. Ladybugs, such as this one found in my garden just last week, are a welcome sight. Their main diet is aphids, the soft-bodied plant-sucking bane of so many healthy garden plants, but ladybugs will also dine on other soft-bodied pests. Plus, in south-central Connecticut, late summer and early fall often brings masses of ladybug beetles to light colored buildings – they really seem to like white – so this is a good time to get out that camera and join the Lost Ladybug Project.