Pollinator Observation Data

We’re excited to begin a new collaboration with The Great Sunflower Project (GSP), a program coordinated by Dr. Gretchen LeBuhn from San Francisco State University. The Great Sunflower Project began in 2008, and now has about 100,000 citizen scientists collecting data on pollinator visitation across North America! GSP is in need of Ohio data, and Gretchen is excited about our addition of cooperators and our rich Ohio data!

The Ohio Phenology Garden Network’s data collection methods are very similar to GSP’s so hopefully the transition will be relatively painless! Many things remain the same: We will monitor pollinator visitation on each plant in our gardens for 3 minutes, once a week when in bloom. In this intro video, Gretchen describes the GSP flagship project monitoring ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflowers. This monitoring is for 15 minutes, but we’re sticking with 3 minutes.

To get started, view this short welcome video by Gretchen:

Here’s a short video that outlines the process described below:

Now create an account with GSP here.

This 2018 data sheet can be used for data collection. Here as a PDF file  or a Word file It is also in the dropdown list under Pollinator Data Entry.

Ready to add a count of pollinators on flowers on the GSP website? Select “Add A Count” once you’re logged in.

Since we stay in one place to observe the plants, choose “Stationary”  under observation type. (Click on the embedded image to the left to enlarge.)

Under “Observation time,” you have three choices.

  • I am starting an observation right now. (If you are on a smart gadget or computer, the GSP site has a built in timer so you can do this all on your gadget!)
  • I completed an observation moments ago.
  • I am recording an observation I made in the past. (Some phenology garden sites have a data angel who collects data sheets and enters data later, so this works for that scenario as well).

Enter your Location address the first time, or if you’re returning, choose your location from the drop down list. You can have multiple sites that you observe. Click NEXT.


Number of flowers watched. This is different for us: you’ll need to enter the number of flowers that you’re observing on the plant.

Some helpful hints: purple coneflower and other composite flowers are counted as “1” flower. (More hints coming!!)

Type of plant. Begin to type in the name of the plant. Add the plant’s Latin name if it’s not in the dropdown list. We’re in the process of adding our full list of plants OSU Phenology Garden Network plants to the dropdown list, and will update you on our progress. In the meantime, just add the plant name in Latin.

Click NEXT.

It’s time to enter your pollinator counts! These categories should look very familiar to you.


  • Were there no pollinators out today? Look at the bottom of the species list, and check the box that says, I did not see any pollinators. Gretchen emphasizes that these are the MOST important data that they get!
  • If you saw more than one species of a particular type of pollinator, you will want to use the “I saw another pollinator species” link.

When done, click NEXT.








Almost done with that plant! When did you make your observation? And did you observe for 3 minutes? Enter this information, then click FINISH.

To enter data for another plant, select “Add a Count” and enter the data. Repeat until data for all plants has been recorded.

As always, e-mail Denise at ellsworth.2@osu.edu with any questions, comments or suggestions.