The DuPage Forest Preserve District is hosting a “Parks for Pollinators” bioblitz Sept. 12 – 20 in partnership with the DuPage Monarch Project and as part of the national campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of pollinators.

To participate in the pollinator bioblitz, people are invited to take photos of pollinators in DuPage County and upload them to iNaturalist, a free app. Ecologists who are members of the DuPage Monarch Project will review the images and get a better idea of what’s going on in wild DuPage.

“About 75 percent of the planet’s 250,000 species of flowering plants could not produce seeds or fruits without animal pollinators,” said Lonnie Morris, coordinator at the DuPage Monarch Project. “In fact, researchers estimate that one in every three bites of food we eat exists because of them.

“But our native pollinators face threats from habitat loss, invasive species and insecticides,” Morris said.

To participate in the bioblitz, people should download the iNaturalist app on their phone and create an account. Participants should make sure to allow the app to use their location so it will record where their photos are taken.

To share photos in iNaturalist, participants use the iNaturalist app between Sept. 12 and 20 to take photos of pollinators they see when visiting a DuPage forest preserve or any park in DuPage County. In the app, people should select “Observe” under the camera icon and take a photo. Then select “Next.” Select Share to automatically share your photos to the bioblitz project.

Pollinators are a vital component of our ecosystem and an essential link to the world’s food supply. During the last 30 years, there has been a steady decline of pollinators (such as bees, bats and butterflies) nationwide at an alarming rate of 30 percent annually, according to the White House’s Pollinators Health Task Force.

Organized by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, the event also positions parks as national leaders in advancing pollinator health. DuPage Forest Preserve District is hosting the event in partnership with the DuPage Monarch Project.

To learn more about Parks for Pollinators, visit www.nrpa.org/parks4pollinators.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.