Native Bee Watch Community Science – Adult Education Research Internship

College of Health and Human Sciences

School of Education




Primary Topic:

Natural Resources and Sustainability

Other Topics:

Food and Agriculture

Lead Mentor:  

Jill Zarestky

Associate Professor

Internship Overview:

Pollinator populations are declining worldwide, partly due to urbanization and habitat loss. Bees, specifically, are crucial for sustainable ecosystems, necessitating the need to strengthen efforts in public awareness and engagement to mitigate continued declines. Native Bee Watch (NBW) is a community science program offered through CSU Extension that trains and supports volunteers to identify and monitor bees. As a multi-disciplinary collaboration, NBW’s overarching goal is to create a ripple effect of engagement and education based on ecological and social science research.
The NBW Adult Education Research Internship will contribute to the ongoing social science research to improve and build the program, thereby extending its reach and impact. The current research has two goals: 1) Evaluate and evolve the current education program for bee monitoring volunteers, and 2) assess the effects of the design changes from (1) on the social and scientific factors of monitoring, including volunteer skills and confidence, scientific process and understanding, and quantity and quality of data. Results from this research will not only improve the volunteer experience but will also improve the accuracy of the data collected by volunteers, leading to higher quality ecological research on bees.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

This student will support this research by 1) participating in NBW team meetings, 2) ask a research question based on data being collected, 2) participate in data collection that may include surveys, interviews, social media work, etc. 3) analyze data, 4) share results that may include presentations, informal science writing, and a peer-reviewed journal article.

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

The intern will work closely with Arapahoe County Extension, Native Bee Watch volunteers, and Colorado Master Gardener volunteers and other community partners in the Front Range, such as botanical gardens and nature centers.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

The intern will gain experience with verbal and written communication, working as a team, and applied research and problem solving. They will also gain knowledge in the areas of pollinator conservation, horticulture issues as it relates to individuals and communities. Skills developed during the internship will be transferrable to other jobs and projects the student may pursue. The intern will also have the professional development opportunities to shadow staff in other program areas and will gain a broader understanding of the role of Extension interfacing with research and the community.
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