U.S. Forest Service Southern Region Endangered Species Specialist Dennis Krusac talks pollination with Mary Kalafut, her son Michael (left) and Edward Lynch at Ford Elementary School’s recent Evening in the Garden event.
In Acworth, Ga., children at Ford Elementary School live almost every child’s dream – outdoor classrooms and science labs in a butterfly garden.
The school was selected as one of 64 U.S. Department of Education’s National Green Ribbon Schools for 2013. The department’s recognition program honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education. The Ford school program focuses on a broad array of environmental and science education goals and involves students, teachers and parents as volunteers in hands-on learning experiences to educate students.
Among the volunteers are Dennis Krusac, an endangered species specialist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Region in Atlanta, and Jackie Belwood, Krusac’s wife and an assistant professor of biology with Georgia Highlands College. Read more »
The National Agricultural Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) in Madison, Mississippi is partnering with the city of Madison to create a pollinator garden. Read more »
I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Farmer Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award than Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, California. That’s why I was so excited when I found out he would be receiving the award in 2010! Read more »
Written collaboratively by: The People’s Garden Team
Today, Sam Droege with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) led a workshop on The Native Bees in Your Garden at The People’s Garden at USDA Headquarters. Did you know there are about 4,000 species of bees in North America and that one eighth of them have not even been named yet?
Despite their importance, there has been little research on native bees. Much of what we know comes from before the 1930’s when collecting and studying insects was popular. Since there has been little research, we do not know if there have been wide spread declines in native bees like there have been with the non-native honeybees. Sam and other scientists and taxonomists are working together to create online identification guides for the bees of North America. You can find out more about this collaborative project at National Biological Information Infrastructure.
Did you know that most of the native bees do not sting? Only the few “colonial” bees (bees that form colonies) will sting and only if trapped or if their hive is attacked. Most “bee” stings are in fact from wasps, like yellow jackets, not bees. Sam noted that in general bees are vegetarians while wasps are meat eaters. While bees are attracted to and pollinate flowers, wasps generally do not. Honeybees are important for agriculture since native bees are frequently not available around industrial farms. The reason is that industrial farmland is devoid of the natural habitat native bees need. Instead, beekeepers bring in beehives to provide pollination services. Another problem is that the pesticides used to eliminate insect pests in agricultural land also kill bees and other beneficial insects. Because of the lack of research, we do not know the impact of pesticides on native bees or the honeybees. The presentation ended with a tour of the garden and Sam showing the attendees all the many bees peacefully pollinating the garden.
Throughout the month of June, The People’s Garden is celebrating pollinators in honor of National Pollinator Week, June 21-27 with workshops and exhibits. Come join us next Friday (June 11) from 12 noon to 1 p.m. for the workshop Pests and Their Natural Enemies.
Sam showing different species of bees.