Caterpillars Count! is a project that relies on citizen scientists (you!) to help understand some of the most important organisms in our ecosystems—caterpillars and other insects—by conducting surveys of the plants and trees around them. These insects are an important food source for birds and other wildlife, and they have economic and environmental impacts on our forests and crops. You can help us understand how the abundance of these bugs varies from rural countrysides to major urban areas, and from coast to coast.
Your observations can also help us track how the abundance of caterpillars and other insects varies over the seasons. The seasonal timing of caterpillar availability is especially important for birds which try to time their spring migration so that there will be lots of insect food around (caterpillars are an especially tasty treat!) to successfully raise their young. Listen to this clip for a brief example!
Get involved in three ways:
- First, find a participating Caterpillars Count! site near you and help conduct some surveys. See this page for an interactive map of existing Caterpillars Count! locations, and this page for details about our survey protocol.
- Second, explore the data recorded by our participants both via the interactive map, as well as through our specially designed learning activities for K-12 students and environmental education groups.
- Third, if you are interested in starting up a new Caterpillars Count! site, please contact us! Environmental Education centers, schools, botanical gardens, and other sites that receive many visitors interested in nature are the perfect places to start a long-term monitoring project!