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APPL-RED Teacher Resources


Authentic Plant Pollinator Landscape Research for Education (APPL-RED) was a teacher professional development program that ran for secondary science educators in the summers of 2017 and 2019. The program focused on cutting-edge plant pollinator research at the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research and various research techniques used in this interdisciplinary field. Teachers at the workshop learned about plant-pollinator interactions, pollinator habitat, and pollinator decline. This page contains resources from the APPL-RED teacher professional development.

Creating a pollinator garden

Creating a pollinator garden on your school grounds provides a fantastic opportunity for your students to learn about pollinator friendly habitat design, soil and water management, biological cycles, and pest management. In addition, once the pollinator garden is built, students can conduct field observations to learn about plant-pollinator interactions. Pollinator gardens can be large or small. Container plantings can also provide multiple educational opportunities.

  • Pollinator Garden Certification program through the Penn State Master Gardners which provides a detailed outline of how to create a pollinator garden.
  • Sample Garden Plans are provided by the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden.
  • Snetsinger Satellite Garden program is available to schools in Centre County Pennsylvania.
  • Seedlings for Schools program through the Pennsylvania Game Commision allows you to obtain native, pollinator-attractive shrubs and trees. There are also linked resources for lessons and curricula.
  • Eco-regional planting guides provided by the Pollinator Partnership can help teachers outside of Pennsylvania select the right plants for your garden.
  • Plant-Pollinator Interactions Lesson Plan is for secondary teachers looking to have students conduct field observations of plant-pollinator interactions in their garden. This lesson plan was created by the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research and the Penn State Center for Science and the Schools.

Monitoring Plant Pollinator Interactions

Pollinators and plants represent one of the most important mutualisms on our planet. Nearly 90% of flowering plants use pollinators to move pollen among flowers and individual plans, allowing them to set seed and fruit. Pollinators obtain both nectar and pollen from plants, which provides them with their carbohydrates (nectar) and proteins and lipids (pollen). Plants have evolved to attract different kinds of pollinators and have traits to be more attractive to certain types of pollinators, known as “pollination syndromes”.

You can have your students compare the types and numbers of pollinators attracted to flowering plants on your school grounds. By exploring plant pollinator interactions, your students can investigate the diversity of pollinators, the diversity of plants, and the traits of both plants and pollinators that coordinate these mutualistic interactions.

Determining Pollinator Habitat Quality

Assess your yard, school garden, school grounds, etcs for habitat quality for bees.

Use the Beescape website to assess habitat quality across different landscapes. Through this website, you can explore the land use patterns and landscape quality for pollinators throughout the domestic U.S.

Pollinator Decline

Nearly 90% of flowering plant species and 75% of our global agricultural crops use pollinators to set seed and produce fruit (Klein et al., 2016; Ollerton et al., 2011). However, in 2006 beekeepers and farmers started to notice significant losses in bees. These losses have continued over time.

Citizen Science Projects

Record your observation of flora and fauna in your area with iNaturalist!. This app helps you identify plants and animals in your area, and the data can be used in current studies on the distributions of these organisms.