Bee Week Encourages Community Activism

Bee Week Encourages Community Activism

Thanks to environmental activists and concerned citizens, people are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that bee populations have been declining at a dangerous rate for more than a decade. But why are bees dying, and why is their plight detrimental to other species?

One scientifically proven culprit is a specific kind of insecticide called neonicotinoids. Another reason behind declining populations is rising temperatures. Climate change has caused some plant and animal species to migrate, negatively affecting a once thriving habitat for bees. Why should humans work to prevent threats to bees? Potential endangerment of bee species could be devastating for many species since bees are the main pollinators for many fruits and nuts.

There is a seemingly infinite number of ways to become positively involved in this issue. Individuals can apply their abilities and interests towards awareness projects which inspire them. Bee Week, a series of events which educate citizens about bees, is an example of this type of creative effort. Read the rest of this entry »

Learn the Ways of Pollinators and then Support Them!

The Berkshire Museums BeMuse Program Series Tells all on Pollinators and how you can get Involved!

The Berkshire Museum will present a workshop and documentary screening with landscape designer and filmmaker Kim Smith on Saturday, September 20, 2014, as part of the Museum’s BeMuse program series. The slide-illustrated talk, Creating a Bee, Bird, and Butterfly Garden, begins at 10am and the screening of the film, Life Story of the Black Swallowtail, will follow the talk, beginning at 11:30am. Both programs are part of the Museum’s BeMuse program series. Come learn about these local pollinators, what habitats they thrive in, how you can support them and join Kim in a Q&A discussion following both the workshop and screening. Come curious and bring your questions!  Read the rest of this entry »

Bee Condos: Steps Away from Sweet Educational Opportunities

Kid-friendly global bee revival can start in your own backyard and provide dynamic learning opportunities for the whole family

When looking to attract wildlife for children to observe, we often choose birds. Bird feeders and houses can be fairly simple to create and, especially in terms of food and birds are a very “if you build it, they will come” type of creature. But what if there was another creature in need of support who could just as easily be housed and fed in your yard via DIY projects? It’s no secret these days that bee populations are quickly declining, and as it turns out, families can take some very simple steps in order to offer bees with lots of appropriate habitat.

Since the 1990’s, we’ve been globally aware that bee populations were in danger. Pesticide use is one of the leading causes of this decline in the presence of pollinators, and while there is much being done to raise awareness and change practices, we still have a long way to go before bees will be safe. And in order to support local pollinators, there are lots of kid-friendly things that families can do at home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Become a Citizen Scientist to Track & Document Bee Movements & Learn Lots Along the Way

You’re Invited! Help halt the demise of these important pollinators!

While our surroundings continue to bloom, take advantage of the late spring blossoms and the creatures that they attract by participating in some citizen science projects! Pollinator species of all kinds are declining in numbers as a result of environmentally unfriendly practices (like habitat destruction and herbicide use, among others), and by helping to collect data about pollinators, environmentally conscious folks of all ages can contribute to current efforts to support populations and ensure that they continue to exist for years to come.

In particular, families can use their citizen science efforts to help study populations of bees. Loved and celebrated for their role in pollinating some food crops that we enjoy, bees play a crucial role in ecosystems all around the world. This summer, instead of fleeing at the sight of a bee, families can practice photography skills, learn to identify insect species, and contribute data to studies of bee population distribution and the causes of population decline.

Read the rest of this entry »

More than Honey: Film Explores Relationship Between Bees & Human

Film & Local Panel Explore
Relationship Between Bees & Humans

Bee pollination is vital to the survival of 80% of the world’s plant species, yet populations of the fuzzy flying insects are declining all around the world. What does the decline in bee populations mean for farmers? Learn about this current and pressing issue at a screening of More Than Honey, a documentary that explores the effects of colony collapse disorder, the phenomenon responsible for bees’ recent scarcity.

Amherst Cinema and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) have partnered to offer a special showing of the film More Than Honey at 7pm on Tuesday, October 15th. Along with the screening will be a panel discussion featuring local bee experts Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary and Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms…

Read the rest of this entry »

Butterfly House Sets Flight in the Berkshires

Project Native
Native Butterfly House
A New Community-Based Educational Resource

“People see a beautiful butterfly but they don’t connect it to their landscape,” Project Native Education Director Karen LeBlanc said. “With the butterfly house they will understand that caterpillars need certain plants to live and eat. If you don’t have the plants, you’re not going to get the butterfly.”

Promoting the connection between native habitats and local wildlife, Project Native has opened a Native Butterfly House open to the public at its native plant nursery in Housatonic, just 4 miles north of Great Barrington, MA. Take a tour of this new educational facility on Friday, August 16th from 10am-12noon, or come to the kick-off party in the evening from 5-6:30pm.

The new 35-by-55-foot structure encloses a garden of native plants grown at Project Native, all of which support the life cycle of native butterflies. Staff and visiting children have been collecting native butterflies from the Project Native property to populate the butterfly house, which is open to the public daily from 10 to 4.

“This is a great addition to Project Native,” General Manager David Ellis said. “It is a terrific educational resource and a great attraction. It will serve as the keystone for our educational programs which show the importance of native habitats in sustaining our wildlife.” Groups of children have gone on butterfly safaris for several weekends in search of caterpillars and butterflies to populate the enclosed garden. There are two more butterfly safaris this summer, Wednesday, August 21st from 1-2:30pm and Saturday, August 24th from 9:30-10:30am. An advanced bug safari for kids ages 8 and oler happens on Sunday, Augutst 18th from 2:30-4:30pm.

Project Native’s mission is to promote, restore and sustain native habitats in the Berkshire Taconic region. The 13-year-old non-profit organization grows native plants from seeds collected in the region and makes them available to the public. The fields and forests of the 54-acre former dairy farm have been largely cleared of invasive plants to restore its landscape with native habitats that include trails, a native-plant seed bank, and educational activities. Native plants as defined by Project Native, are plants that existed in the region prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 17th century.

LeBlanc first conceived of the butterfly house after placing caterpillars in small butterfly huts on the property. Soon she discovered that visitors and staff were fascinated by watching the life cycle as a caterpillar becomes a chrysalis and then emerges as a butterfly, and proposed building a structure large enough to contain permanent plantings and facilitate learning…

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: