Using video to identify bumble bees

I attended an "I-opening" workshop in June at the Bullitt Reservation in Ashfield learning to identify bumble bees and participate in a bumble bee census in Massachusetts as a "citizen scientist." After sharing his research on the startling decline of bumble bees, Worcester Polytech Asst. Professor Rob Gegear demonstrated a new smartphone app called “Bee-cology” for monitoring and protecting bumble bees. This exciting new app is available for download on android phones now! Here's a practice video of a bumble bee and another one of a silver spotted skipper butterfly at the Western Mass Master Gardeners plot in Northampton Community Gardens.

Solar Arrays = Pollinator Sanctuaries?

Super interesting field trip to Hampshire College's sixteen acre solar installation (translation: huge) with Facilities director Todd Holland. With great foresight, the array was planned to include native pollinator plants between rows of panels. Prof. Seeta Sistla has a grant to study long-term effects on soil and ecology of the plantings with the goal of sharing best practices. I envision the rapid adoption of a local standard like this instead of grass or concrete or pebbles as the base of arrays, which is much more ecological and climate friendly! Visit Seeta's website for more information. OF NOTE: One of the primary early adopters of marrying solar arrays and pollinator sanctuaries

Our beginning: "accidental" inspiration

I love stories about coincidences that lead to new and unexpected paths in life - I have plenty of stories to tell myself, including this one! Flashback to May 2016. A vacation to Ashville, NC with my neighbor Gale to "see the sights" led to a discovery that has transformed into my new passion for building sanctuaries in western Massachusetts for the hundreds of pollinators that provide numerous ecosystem services. Before that trip I was well aware of bee colony collapse and the struggle to identify a cause and create solutions to help honey bees. I remember thinking that I was seeing far fewer bees and butterflies around than years passed. It was frustrating thinking that scientist

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