Backyard bee photography to improve conservation practices

Feeling shut in? Get out with Shutterbee!

NOTE: We have a new website!!! For up-to-date information on the program, please visit

Enjoy some sunshine, learn about your backyard bees, and join a fantastic community of bee enthusiasts! The goals of this project are to understand how landscape features and land management decisions affect bee diversity and behavior. We need your help to figure it out!

If you are interested in joining the program but have some questions first, please email us at

As a Shutterbee participant, you will receive 4-6 hours of training, depending on your familiarity with conducting standardized surveys and using iNaturalist. We ask that participants conduct 20 to 45-minute walking photo surveys once every two weeks and upload their observations using our protocol to iNaturalist.

Shutterbee is collaboration among Webster University, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis Zoo, and the Missouri Botanical Garden, with additional support from the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Living Earth Collaborative.

Quick notes on our survey protocol:

  • Photo surveys in YOUR yard every 2 weeks

  • Observe on warm (>60°F), partly to mostly sunny days

  • Photograph ALL bees for about 30 minutes sometime between 10am and 3pm

  • Submit observations to iNaturalist with metadata

  • No bees to observe? Zeros are still data! Please fill out the "No Bees Form".

In addition to our training sessions, we will have additional events throughout the year, including site visits to help you implement your first beeblitz, a bee ID camp, and end of the season celebration with the entire ShutterBee community. If you want to get started learning the common bee genera of St. Louis now, check out Nina Fogel's The Bees of St. Louis: A Shutterbee Guide! She will be updating it throughout the year, so send her your suggestions (, if you would like add information. We look forward to working with you! If have any questions, please contact us at


Community scientists conducting photo surveys at Forest Park.

Our Partners and Funding Sources