Greetings Fellow Educators, Citizen Scientists and Bird and Lepidoptera 

Spring is around the corner, and with it comes leaf-out, caterpillars 
and other arthropods, and birds to eat them. I’m writing to share 
information about an exciting new NSF-funded citizen science project 
that involves all of these things called Caterpillars Count! 
( We are actively looking for new 
partners to start up Caterpillars Count! survey sites for this upcoming 
spring and summer. 

Caterpillars Count! is a citizen science project that measures the 
seasonal variation and abundance of arthropods like caterpillars, 
beetles, and spiders found on the leaves of trees and shrubs in an 
effort to answer important questions about patterns of food availability 
for birds. Researchers are using the data collected in Caterpillars 
Count! to help determine if plants, insects and birds are all responding 
to ongoing changes in climate to the same degree. If either insects or 
birds are not keeping up with phenological shifts of the other organisms 
that they depend on, then further climate change may have negative 
consequences for their populations. 

We have funding available to support new sites’ involvement in the 
project up to $1,000, and our team may even be able to host a training 
workshop at your site. 

Ideally, Caterpillars Count! survey sites should have at least 30 survey 
trees and have dedicated volunteers or staff that can commit to 
conducting weekly foliage surveys over the spring and summer. The 
expected time commitment would be ~3 person-hours per week, but the task 
is easily divided up among multiple participants, and is an ideal 
activity for engaging volunteers or visitors at your site. 

For more details on the project and what hosting a survey site for 
Caterpillars Count! entails, please check out our project website. If 
hosting a Caterpillars Count! survey site at your facility sounds like 
something of interest, please check out the website for more details and 
then fill out the form below and we’ll get back with you. 

In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact Sarah Yelton, Project 
Coordinator, with any questions. You can reach the Caterpillars Count! 
team by emailing, or you can reach Sarah by 
phone at 919-966-0895. 

Please also consider forwarding this email along to any friends, 
colleagues or local groups you think may be interested in Caterpillars 

Yours in Citizen Science, 

Sarah Yelton 
Environmental Education Coordinator, 
Institute for the Environment 
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 

And the rest of the Caterpillars Count! Team 

Allen Hurlbert 
Associate Professor, 
Department of Biology 
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 

Sara Snell Taylor 
Graduate Assistant, 
Department of Biology 
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

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