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Insect Monitoring Opportunity for Children and Teens

Researchers call on schools to take part in "Schulinsektenhaus" (School Insect House) Project

Freiburg, Nov 20, 2018

Insect Monitoring Opportunity for Children and Teens

Pupils of the UWC Robert Bosch College are building insect houses for the nationwide monitoring network. Photo: UWC Robert Bosch College

Populations of insects and insect species diversity have been declining in Germany in recent years. Researchers are now enlisting networks of schools to help monitor insects in order to investigate the reasons for the decrease. The Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology of the University of Freiburg and the international UWC Robert Bosch College (United World College) in Freiburg have launched the project "Schulinsektenhaus" (School Insect House) which establishes partnerships with schools throughout Germany in order to record in the long-term species diversity of bees, wasps, and their natural enemies in the nesting aids. Large amounts of data can be gathered in this way to provide insight into the questions of falling insect populations. Meanwhile, the spread of new insect species can be observed as well. At the same time, the school pupils taking part in the project develop awareness of socially relevant issues and environmental problems.

Each partner school will receive two of their own nesting aids, or insect houses. Each autumn, they will send one of these back to the research group at the University of Freiburg in exchange for a new nesting aid. Together with the pupils at the UWC, the researchers will then investigate the species and numbers of insects in the returned houses and evaluate the data. On the basis of what they've gathered, they will make hypotheses about the incidence of insects, such as patterns of distribution of invasive insect species or the decrease in numbers of pollinating bees or wasps that reduce the amount of insect pests.

The program provides an opportunity for participating schools to offer a project on insects and their value to ecosystems and therefore humans. All they need to do is mount the insect houses and then send one back. The other insect house stays on the school grounds as a feature. During the spring, school pupils can see how the remaining nest is colonized. They may later open it themselves to analyze its contents. The project leaders also provide understandable, informational, instructional material on insects and bees for the length of the whole project.

Project leader Prof. Dr. Alexandra-Maria Klein is encouraging schools to take part: "When pupils and teachers are interested in the project, we'd be pleased if they could recommend schools – no matter what type of school or grade level – to us. We would like schools from all of Germany's federal states to join in." The Robert Bosch Foundation is supporting the project, which is to establish a monitoring network that can collect data on different insect groups in the long term and therefore contribute to protecting ecosystems.


For more information on the "Schulinsektenhaus" (School Insect House) Project (in German)

Robert Bosch Foundation

UWC Robert Bosch College

Prof. Dr. Alexandra-Maria Klein
Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 / 203-67770


Dr. Felix Fornoff
Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 / 203-67790


Tobias Kellner
United World College – Robert Bosch College
Tel.: 0176-8160665