Our Neighbors Farm and Pantry’s garden

Flowers in Our Neighbors Farm and Pantry’s garden attract pollinating insects, like the bee at upper left.

SAFFORD — Download the app, take the pictures, and then educate yourself and others about the local flora and fauna in our area.

Using an app called iNaturalist, participants of the first-ever Bio Blitz on June 8 at Our Neighbors Farm and Pantry can upload photos of plants and insects to be identified. The event will run from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the pantry.

Individuals who are interested may download the app to their phones, open an account or use the pantry’s e-mail, ONFandP@gmail.com.

“What we’ll try to do is mostly insects because insects are so forgotten about. We’re going to get photos of everything and put it out there. Insects, plants, anything that’s there, except for the crops. We know what the crops are,” said Our Neighbors Farm and Pantry Director Stacy Scarce. “There are many advantages. The first thing is, if we know what’s there, we can better educate the kids who are coming to our garden education program. If we can identify all this stuff and learn how it’s interacting with our crops and native plants, then we will have a much better idea of our ecology of our gardens.”

Scarce told the Courier that the pantry team is planning to restructure the native plant garden to increase the population of pollinator plants and include medicinal plants. The medicinal plants will be labeled so locals can learn how to grow and use them for themselves.

“In about a year or so, we’ll do more garden blitzes, and we will get to see just how much change has happened just because we put in these native plants. And when school starts again, we’re going to do mini bio blitzes with them so they can upload stuff in their classroom and get to know the plants and animals that are here that way,” Scarce said.

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