Victor DeMasi (l) and Sammy Riccio collect pollinators at Highstead.
Victor DeMasi

During the summer of 2020, Highstead began participating in an intensive pollinator survey in its meadow. The survey at Highstead is part of a larger study in Redding, Connecticut, that aims to document the existing diversity of pollinators in local meadows and document what plant species they are associated with.

“There is a surprisingly small amount of information about pollinators on the local level.”

Geordie Elkins, Highstead Operations Director

The survey is being conducted by noted lepidopterist Victor Demasi and biologist Sammy Riccio, both Redding residents, and Highstead’s Operations Director Geordie Elkins.

The data gathered will serve as both a catalog of existing pollinators — everything from bees to moths and butterflies to hummingbirds and more — and as a baseline for future research. Most pollinator surveys in the area have focused on capturing data over the course of an intensive day or two. The Redding census is a sustained project over the entire summer.

“Despite the growing interest in pollinators and widespread recommendations to plant pollinator gardens,” says Elkins. “There is a surprisingly small amount of information about pollinators on the local level.” The project will increase the understanding of what species exist in the local landscape and what meadow plants they utilize. 

At the end of the summer, Riccio will take the lead on classifying the pollinators they identified. The collection will be donated to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.

Additional Resources

The project was featured in the May 24 issue of the Stamford Register Citizen.

Victor DeMasi spoke about the project on the Digging in the Dirt podcast from WPKN Community Radio.