Wisconsin Group Hosts “Bee Fest” to Encourage Pollination in Madison

bee

Madison’s “Bee Fest” kicks off the beginning of Pollinator Week, June 15 – 21, 2015, a week dedicated to highlighting the importance of bees, bats, birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

A dramatic drop in the number of honeybee colonies in recent years drew dozens to the UW Arboretum on Sunday to understand that trend and how to encourage more pollination in Madison.

About 60 people spent their Sunday learning about pollinating insects and animals — which are not restricted to bees — and how to monitor their numbers in to help researchers track them.
The event was hosted by the Wisconsin chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology and is part of a larger effort to track populations of pollinating insects in the city.
More than 60 percent of Wisconsin’s honeybee hives have died since April of last year — higher than the national average, according to a recent survey conducted by a partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Now, the group is cataloging different species of pollinating insects with a focus on the rare rusty-patched bees and yellow-banded bumblebees in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, which stretches along Lake Mendota’s University Bay between Muir Woods and Picnic Point.

Sunday’s event was the kickoff of that effort, chapter member and event organizer Wynne Moss said.

“One thing that’s challenging about studying changes in communities over time is that we often don’t have baseline data,” said Jesse Miller, a UW-Madison graduate student and botanist who researches grasslands and biodiversity patterns.

“This hopefully will be a long-term project that allows us to track changes year to year so we know what species were there in 2015, and how did that change in 2016,” Miller said. “And that can become incredibly valuable because these long-term data sets are so rare.”

Many of those attending Sunday’s event learned how to catch and identify insects using nets, special insect vacuums and by creating traps in cups of soapy water.

Attendee Keefe Keeley is the executive director of the Savanna Institute, a nonprofit based in Urbana, Illinois, that is focused on developing restorative agricultural systems.

Keeley said the effort will help ongoing research into bee hive collapse.

Anitra Johnson of Madison, a retired landscape gardener, plans to help monitor the insects, too.

On Sunday, she caught three species of bees that were drawn to baptisia and wild rose plants.

A major contributing factor to the declining bee population is a reduction in native plants they prefer, Miller said.

“In order to conserve pollinators, we have to conserve our natural habitats, and native plant gardens can be one way to do that, in addition to conserving the wild lands,” Miller said.

Miller said agricultural land has largely replaced savannas and prairie lands, especially in southern Wisconsin, diminishing the number of plants that flower at various times throughout the year.
“It’s not only having a native habitat but having a diverse enough native habitat that you have nectar throughout the summer, and that’s hard for a lot of gardeners to recognize and know when things bloom,” Moss said.

Source: Molly Beck mbeck@madison.com

EPA is joining other federal agencies, the National Wildlife Federation, the Pollinator Partnership (pollinator.org) and many more organizations in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (http://millionpollinatorgardens.org/) to promote pollinator health.

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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