Ranger Rick Six-Year-Old Helps Cornell Lab and NSF With U.S. Ladybug Recovery

It seems we must never underestimate the power of NWF’s favorite raccoon — Ranger Rick. Here is an AP story about how a motivated six year old Ranger Rick Reader helped Cornell researchers and the National Science Foundation locate a colony and obtain specimens of rare vanishing ladybugs.

Mary Esch at AP reports:

“John Losey, an entomologist at Cornell University, launched the Lost Ladybug Project last year to try to figure out why once-common native ladybug species had all but disappeared across the country. The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, recruits citizen scientists – especially children – to search for ladybugs and send photos of them to Losey and his colleagues.  Of particular interest are the nine-spotted, two-spotted and transverse ladybugs, three native species that have declined dramatically.. The big breakthrough came in June, when 6-year-old Alyson Yates and her mom, Kate, started sending in photos of nine-spotted ladybugs from their rural backyard in Lakeview, Ore., in the sagebrush desert east of the Cascades. It was really an amazing find,” Losey said. “Usually, someone just finds one or two. Alyson and Kate sent in a couple one day, a few more three days later, a couple more a few days after that. It became apparent they had a population out there.”

So Losey and a colleague boarded a plane with their collecting nets and came back to Ithaca with 13 nine-spotted and more than 30 transverse ladybugs. Aly was thrilled that people would come all the way from New York to go collecting in our yard,” said Kate Yates, who got involved in the project when her daughter saw an ad in the National Wildlife Federation’s Ranger Rick magazine for children.”

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