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Story in Brief

During the first Great Georgia Pollinator Census in 2019, over 4,000 Georgians participated. Then in 2020, along came COVID. Public gatherings were discouraged. Many school systems announced later starting dates, after the census. Other schools were teaching in-person, virtually or a hybrid of both. And, policy on public safety changed frequently. The project coordinator at the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture virtually met with teachers to determine how the project could best fit into the school curriculum during the pandemic. Resources were created that allowed teachers to use the census as a no-cost science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) program regardless of the teaching style used at the school. Teaching tools were developed that would allow teachers to educate on insects virtually and have their students count insects at home, sending census results back to the teacher on-line. These counts were uploaded to the census website and used in classroom lessons such as graphing, math skills, biology, etc. Schools that were meeting in-person ran the census similar to the 2019 project, implementing policies on social distancing and wearing masks. For the public, the emphasis switched from encouraging participants to attend a public event to having participants counting at home with their families. A total of 3,755 Georgians participated in the 2020 Great Georgia Pollinator Census documenting almost 83,000 insect flower visits. Schools participated as part of their local STEAM program. Businesses such as Bank of America, Creative Enterprises and Project Chimp hosted counting events. Scottish Rite Hospital led counting at their hospital garden. The Daughters of the Revolution had members from chapters across the state participate. Participants reported that 525 new pollinator spaces were created as a part of the census. Sixty-five percent of participants indicated that participating in the census changed their understanding of the benefits provided by insects that visit their gardens.