Our work examines pollinator gardens as sites of community science and environmental activism. Pollinator gardens support diverse insect populations and enable ecosystems to thrive while also being aesthetic, inexpensive, and easy to set up. Furthermore, such gardens enable hybrid data collection through human observation of ecosystem bioindicators and digital sensing of environmental conditions such as weather, air, and soil quality conditions. We thus see pollinator gardens as touchpoints for citizen science, as well as sites for advancing multidisciplinary research in social science, life sciences, HCI (Human Computer Interaction), and IoT (Internet of Things).
Our long-term vision is to develop low-cost pollinator garden kits consisting of organic materials (e.g., seeds, soil, etc.) and networked digital sensors to enable communities to create pollinator habitats, monitor local environments, and observe ecosystem biomarkers. We envision distributed data collection (sensing and human observation) across gardens to engage communities in scientific research and advance knowledge of biodiversity in the desert southwest.
This year, we are co-designing and deploying a pilot pollinator garden kit with Mirabella, a retirement community at ASU. Our work includes community co-design activities, technical development, and a pilot deployment. The work will lead to a scale-able kit to be distributed across the desert southwest and enable us to pursue larger funding opportunities.