The Bumble Bee Challenge is back! We took a month off from prizes in August, but for September we have a special prize from local ceramic artist Laurie Caffery. This month, the citizen scientist that submits the most locations for Bumble Bee observations will win a pair of handmade mugs featuring the elusive Rusty Patched Bumble Bee!

This month we chose locations to be the prize because we want all of you to get out to some different places and get creative with where you’re searching! There are many places that still haven’t been explored yet and I’m sure you all have a list of places that you’ve wanted to get to, but haven’t gotten to yet. Hit all of those places and you may just win a great new set of handmade mugs!

Definition of “Location” for this challenge: A location means an individual trail, property, park, etc. For example, if you go out to Shining Rock Wilderness and go on the Black Balsam Trail and then also go to the Graveyard Fields Trail then that would be 2 locations. Each observation on a single trail DOES NOT count as a new location. So, if you observed 5 bumble bees along the Black Balsam Trail then that is 1 location, not 5. The same applies for roads and parks.

IMPORTANT: If you go somewhere and are looking for bumble bees, but don’t see any, that still counts and is very valuable information so please let know if you are looking and don’t find bumble bees somewhere. Not finding bumble bees is important data too and could prove very important to the management of pollinator habitat!

(p.s. The mugs below have honey bees on them, but the Rusty Patched mugs are being made specifically for this challenge so we don’t have an example yet, but these are just an example of Laurie Caffery’s work)