Nature lovers, concerned citizens, and science enthusiasts are invited to help scientists monitor bee populations in the St. Louis area! The St. Louis Bee Brigade was created by scientists at Webster University, St. Louis University, and BeeSpotter to collaborate with citizens in tracking bee populations. With your help, we hope to build much-needed baseline data for determining how and why bumble bee populations are changing in the St. Louis region. Your participation will help us locate populations of rare or threatened species, determine patterns of bee abundance and diversity, and build connections among concerned citizens in the region. It's easy! It takes just 2 simple steps:

  1. Take photograph(s) of a bumble bee
  2. Login and submit your photographs to BeeSpotter!

Help us kick off the 2017 National Pollinator Week with a buzz! Join us for our first BeeBlitz on Saturday, June 17th, supported by the Academy of Science - St. Louis, St. Louis Zoo and Forest Park Forever. For more details, scroll down to the upcoming events!

To hear more about why the STL Bee Blitz is important, listen to an interview I did with Webster Voice's Jim Singer! We start with climate change and focus on bee citizen science at minute 12.


St. Louis BeeBlitz on Saturday, June 17th, 2017!

The bees need your help!! Recent declines in insect pollinators, especially bees, have gained international attention. The reasons for these declines are complicated, and scientists are enlisting the help of citizens to provide much needed data to figure out why. Using photographs taken by anyone with a cell phone or digital camera, we can keep track of these mobile, widespread species. However, we cannot do it alone! We need your help to make this monitoring program a success!

Please join us for a morning of bee spotting on Saturday, June 17th, 2017 at Forest Park. To kick off National Pollinator Week, citizen scientists and local experts are invited to collaborate in the St. Louis BeeBlitz at Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Participants will learn about bee biology while taking photos of wild bees. At this time, we are focused on bumble bees, because they are important native pollinators of wild and cultivated plants. At the end of the data collection, all images and relevant information will be uploaded BeeSpotter, a web-based portal at the University of Illinois.

The St. Louis BeeBlitz is organized by the St. Louis Bee Brigade (a collaboration between Webster University, St. Louis University, BeeSpotter of the University of Illinois), Academy of Science of St. Louis, St. Louis Zoo, and Forest Park Forever.

Event details:

Registration is required but FREE and open to ALL (though age limits may apply for those collecting data to ensure data quality). Space is limited, so please register early. To register a group of more than 6, please contact Nicole Miller-Struttmann (314-218-5307 or nicolem42@webster.edu). In the case of inclement weather, we will contact you via email with updates and/or alternative activities.

On Saturday, June 17th, 2017 from 10:30AM-12:30PM, you can find us on the north side of the Forest Park Forever Visitor & Education Center. We will be walking to different locations throughout the park, so please arrive promptly at 10:30AM!

Visitor & Education Center

Forest Park Forever

5595 Grand Drive in Forest Park

St. Louis, MO 63112

Are you new to the world of bee photography? Check out BeeSpotter's Guide to photographing bees.

Other helpful links:

For more information or inquiries,

please contact Nicole Miller-Struttmann (nicolem42@webster.edu or 314-218-5307).

If you can’t join us for the St. Louis Bee Brigade BeeBlitz,

contribute to BeeSpotter on your own! Just go outside and take some photographs of bees on June 17th and upload them to BeeSpotter. Here’s how you can get involved:

1. Create an account

2. Add your bee spotting

That’s it! Our experts will identify your bee and let you know when it’s publicly visible on BeeSpotter!

Help us spread the word by circulating our BeeBlitz flier to anyone you think might be interested!

Solar Eclipse Celebration on Monday, August 21st, 2017!

At 1:17PM on Monday, August 21st, 2017, the St. Louis region will be cast into darkness by a total solar eclipse. Webster University invites you to join us in celebrating this amazing event (the last one occurred almost 100 years ago!). Festivities will commence at 11AM at the East Academic Building on Webster University's St. Louis campus. Webster University professors will engage participants in activities based on the science behind eclipses. We will then head to the top if the Garden Avenue Parking garage to view the eclipse in all its glory!

More details to come as the big day approaches.

Please contact Ravin Kodikara (ravinkodikara30@webster.edu) or Victoria Brown-Kennerly (vbrownkennerly64@webster.edu), if you have any questions in the mean time.


Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to enhancing the public understanding of science. I continue this work as a faculty member at Webster University working with St. Louis area teachers to enhance science learning, citizen scientists to monitor local bee populations, and regional science foundations to reach broad publics interested in STEM.

As a post-doc at the University of MIssouri, I administred as a mentor to and educator of the next generation of science communicators through the ShowMe Nature GK-12 program at the University of Missouri (learn more about ShowMe Nature GK-12). In addition to mentoring graduate fellows as they engaged 4th and5th grade students in authentic research experiences, I taught a course designed to enhance fellow communication skills to the broader public. As part of this course, fellows create Virtual Research Broadcasts, which bring a portion of their research that is normally not accessible to their students (such as laboratory work or field excursions) into the classroom.

I also established the Ecology Teaching Team of the Young Scientist Program and mentored three high school students in the YSP Summer Focus Program. Through one-on-one interactions with scientists and independent research experiences, YSP encourages and supports students from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds in pursuing scientific careers.

Alex Lobzhanidze, a graduate student in Computer Science, and me illustrating a Virtual Research Broadcast (VRB) to ShowMe Nature GK-12 graduate students. VRBs engage K-12 students in laboratory and field research that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.