About Us

City Backyard Science (CBS) is led by UMN post-doctoral researchers John Benning and Amanda Gorton. We have two awesome collaborators, Bianca Lopez (post-doc at SESYNC) and Clemon Dabney (graduate student at UMN), as well. UMN Professor David Moeller sponsored the original grant to fund the project.

The basic idea for CBS was conceived based on a few observations:

  1. Habitat is declining for native insect and plant communities, largely due to development
  2. Urban backyards with sufficient resources can attract lots of different native insects
  3. There is plenty of space to grow native plants in cities, but most of that space is covered by (boring) lawn grasses
  4. Kids have few opportunities for hands-on, long-term engagement with science and nature

We successfully applied for a UMN Institute on the Environment Mini Grant, and started the project in spring 2019. We have a dozen households participating in this pilot year, but hope to expand the program in future years.