Gateway Gazette

Busy as Bees

What’s all the Buzz?

Wild pollinators play a vital role in the successful functioning of ecosystems worldwide, as they are required for the reproduction of 90% of flowering plant species, including both native plants and agricultural crops. Bumblebees, in particular, are an important – and easy to recognize – a group of wild pollinators specially adapted to Canadian environments, and there are a total of 29 different species of bumblebees that can be found in Alberta!

One of the most critical pieces of the bumble bee’s life cycle comes early in the spring when queens start to emerge from hibernation and search for a place to initiate nests and raise colonies. However… how many bumblebee nests have you come across in your lifetime? Probably only a handful, if any at all. Bumblebee colonies are typically very cryptic – they often nest underground, in tree cavities, or hidden in dense vegetation. Therefore, it can be difficult to collect information on nesting ecology for these important animals.

Join Sarah Johnson to learn more about bumble bees in the spring, including the research Wildlife Preservation Canada has been conducting on bumble bee nesting habits in Alberta and Ontario: with a summary of 2017 findings from artificial nest boxes installed in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park! Attendees will also have the opportunity to take a complementary nest box kit for installation at home – but materials may be limited, so make sure to come early!

Presenter: Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson is a bumblebee ecologist who has been working in the field of ecology for nearly a decade. She holds an MSc from the University of Calgary and has extensive experience researching plants, pollinators, and their interactions.

She is currently the lead biologist with Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Native Pollinator Initiative and a sessional instructor in the Environmental Science department at Mount Royal University.

Sarah has spent most of her career searching for the answers to questions involving bumblebees and the flowers they pollinate – addressing things like the impacts of wing wear on how much bumblebees can lift, how clearcut logging affects bee-pollinated wildflowers in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, how the intensively developed agricultural landscape of the prairies influences pollinator diversity, and where and why different bumblebee species choose certain locations to build a nest.

Save the Bumble Bees

We need your help installing artificial nest boxes forbumble bee conservation research!

NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!

Where?

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, and your backyard! (map)

When?

April 19th & 28th, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

All you need:

▪ Transportation to/from Glenbow Ranch

▪ Beginner hiking ability (up to 6 km round trip with moderate elevation gain)

▪ A positive attitude!
What you will get in return:
✓ A rewarding & fun outdoor experience!
✓ Bumble bee nest box installation training
✓ Materials and know-how to set up your own nest box at home!

Space is limited, REGISTRATION REQUIRED! Email us at: albertabeecitsci@wildlifepreservation.ca

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