•  Italy, UK: Hampshire; Italy: Tuscany (Siena, Pisa, Grosseto, Firenze), Latium (Viterbo), Emilia Romagna (Bologna)
  •   2019
Time frame
  • Continuous programme
  • Digital Technology
  • Creative STEAM (STEM + Arts)
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Non-Formal Education
  • Conditions for Learning
  • Training & Capacity Building
Level of Schools
  • Preschool
  • Primary School
  • Lower Secondary School
  • Upper Secondary School
  • Special School
External Partners
  • NGO
  • Public Authority
  • Museum
Type of Schools
  • Most schools participating in the project are Primary and Lower Secondary Schools. Preschools are involved just in becoming young pollinator stewards.
Number of Schools involved
  • 25
Number of Schoolheads involved
  • 25
Number of Teachers involved
  • 30
Number of Students involved
  • 560
Number of Parents involved
  • 1120
Number of External Partners involved
  • 10
Short Description

The X-Polli:Nation project aims to get our communities buzzing. This National Geographic project shares (or ‘cross-pollinates’) approaches and tools between members of the public, scientists, technologists and educators in order to support pollinators, people and the practice of citizen science. The resources and work programme are designed for registered schools in the UK and Italy, however, everyone is welcome to get involved in the activities.


The X-Polli:Nation project aims to get our communities buzzing. This National Geographic project shares (or ‘cross-pollinates’) approaches and tools between members of the public, scientists, technologists and educators in order to support pollinators, people and the practice of citizen science. The resources and work programme are designed for registered schools in the UK and Italy, however, we warmly welcome everyone to get involved in the activities. All you need is an area of outdoor space (as small as 1m2) where you can create a small patch of habitat and plant seeds suitable for pollinators.


It’s one of the goals X-Polli wants to reach. The UK partners are talking about a second phase of the project to gain a long-term sustainability too.
X-Polli is itself the evolution of former smaller projects (Polli:BRIGHT in Italy, among them).


The project improves existing web-based technology as a proof of concept that it is possible to take successful tools and enhance their functionality, expand them for use in new geographic regions, and for use with new audiences. It develops an inspiring schools’ engagement programme and evaluates the impact on people, pollinators and practice.


XPollination has been funded by National Geographic USA, a global leader in crowd sourced citizen science, with endeavors such as BioBlitz, Global Xplorer, the Genographic Project, and the Valley of the Khans Project.


The crash in pollinator populations across the globe threatens ecosystems and food security requiring monitoring tools and protection strategies to be put in place to support these vital insects. The X-Polli:Nation approach will co-transform digital technologies behind existing citizen science surveys, ‘Natural Language Generation’ training tools, and ‘bottom up’ campaigns to create exciting participatory learning experiences, fit- for-purpose data and tailored conservation action, across the UK and Italy.


The field of citizen science will be advanced by adapting and integrating existing web-based technologies for new audiences, species and countries, supporting a long-term vision of creating a global pollinator monitoring network.
Citizen science is one of the most promising frontiers of public engagement with potential to be explored to achieve the much desired dialogue between science and society, and build a long-term relationship of mutual trust. Citizen science is reinventing the way knowledge is produced, distributed and acted upon and is pushing towards open science and open data. By allowing independent monitoring and data collection, it makes science more accessible and increases awareness, contributing to more informed decision making and ultimately fostering a more democratic society.

Didactical Concept

Students and teachers will benefit from a comprehensive education programme which interactively teaches young people about every stage of the scientific process. Through taking part in citizen science, students will develop the most important Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills, including intellectual curiosity, problem solving, creativity, statistics and data-driven decision making.


Students and teachers will build the knowledge and skills required to collect data, enhance habitats and gain the confidence to become passionate pollinator stewards in their local communities.

Practice Orientation

A range of pollinating insects under threat will be recorded by trialling enhanced technologies to collect high- quality data in new regions and supported by providing tailored advice for pollinator habitat creation.
Pollinators will benefit from a project which builds the capacity to collect high-quality data about changing pollinator populations and plant high-quality habitats. Spatial and temporal data will be collected on the abundance of insect pollinator species and the flowers they visit through timed visual assessments by students who will be trained in pollinator identification.


The project is based on a participatory approach engaging teachers and students to create appropriate pollinator friendly habitats and improving green areas planting flowers and vegetables. Students would involve other schools, family/friends, by sharing seeds, photos and advice. The aim is to create a community spreading words about conserving pollinators by using a specific communication campaign.


Feedbacks from students will be useful to gather opinions about developing the most user-friendly digital tools. Teachers, students and team members are all involved in a communication campaign sharing activities, findings, and conservation activities with the wider public to create a storyboard of experiences across the project, building an online community.


No fees are required to participate in the activity, so the participation is open to all schools.

Ethical Aspects

XPolli:Nation wishes to pioneer a roadmap for improving existing tools and create a legacy that will allow large numbers of people to collect high-quality data and generate effective solutions to tackle the greatest global environmental challenges.


It involves more academic disciplines as biology, botany, technology, entomology.


The survey has been combined with tools and approaches such as the X-Polli digital identification training tool for bumblebees and butterflies, “The habitat, plant and pollinator guide” and “Planting for pollinators guide” to improve the quality of data collected, to monitor interactions between plants and visiting insect pollinators and collect information.


All the activities are built to facilitate and stimulate a cooperative work between teachers and students. The communication campaign sets students free to create a personal strategy tailored to engage every local community in taking part to conserve pollinators.

Qualitative assessment Inclusiveness

The XPolli tools have the potential to be improved to generate higher quality data, to capture information on wider pollinator groups, to be used with new audiences and adopted over wider geographic areas. There is a recognition within the citizen science community that stakeholders should work together to maximize the value, connectivity and accessibility of such resources.


The X-Polli:Nation team adapts the management tailoring the actions step by step through scheduled meetings.


Scheduled project meetings for team members and assistants are provided to improve actions, share findings, seek feedback and adapt activities to the different geographical contest.

Digital Citizenship

The long-term aspiration of X-Polli is that lessons learnt through the project will create a blueprint for citizen science practitioners wishing to expand and improve digital tools fit for purpose, creating international communities monitoring environmental change through citizen science.

Cooperation Quality

Communications between the partners is done often by email and through scheduled meetings, about one in a month. Decisions are made in collaboration with partners and the main coordinator of the project.

Role of External Partners

Italy: Museo di Storia Naturale della Maremma, UniSi, UniFi, UniPi, UniBo
UK: Imperial College, The Open University, Learning Through Landscape, University of Aberdeen, St. Alban’ s School
In Italy the Maremma Natural History Museum coordinates the activities between English and Italian partners, organizes and delivers training activities and collects data submitted in specific forms online, while Universities work as scientific consultants, coordinate school teachers, provide spaces for monitoring. A similar role is played in UK by Imperial College and the other partners.

Institutional Learning

Being a participatory research, the data collected will be useful for academic research done by the academic partners. The environment and the local communities will benefit from an enhanced sensitivity to the issue of pollinators. Teachers and students will benefit from a more profound knowledge of pollinators and their preferred habitats both as students and as citizens.


The project team is composed of one or more members of the partners as listed above. Every member plays a role in processing and evaluating the project. As the project goes on, each member will get ideas on how to improve and implement the actions.


Evaluation plays an important role in XPolli project. All the actions must be measured filling specific questionnaires: the impact on learning will be assessed through a monitoring form by a social scientist on the team, conducting a questionnaire before and after students take part. A case studies form for teachers will collect qualitative information on the creative means by which students ‘spread the word’.


Documentation of learning process will be held through monitoring collection data, evaluation forms and intermediate and final events.