Bee City USA founder and executive director, Phyllis Stiles, is very honored to speak at the Smithsonian's first Earth Optimism Summit this Saturday, April 22.
On Friday and Saturday, there will concurrent "Deep Dive" sessions organized by themes. Stiles will introduce the Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA programs during the "At Home With Conservation: Backyards, back lots, school yards, and shore fronts" session from 3:45 to 5:00 Saturday at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Other presenters for this session are Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home; Teddy Ammon, Teens Dream co-creator; Jeff Holland, Riverkeeper for the West and Rhodes Rivers; and Joanna Ogburn, expert in building multi-stakeholder collaboration. Research scientist for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Gary Krupnick, will moderate the session.
Earth Optimism celebrates a change in focus from problem to solution in the area of global conservation with an unprecedented gathering of thought leaders, scientists, environmentalists, artists, civic leaders and international media. To purchase tickets, click here. On Sunday, programs are open and free to the public.
The Farmers' Market will be abuzz on April 29 as Gillette celebrates Pollinator Day! Among the sixteen seminars, you can choose Bee Hotels, Cooking With Honey, Flowers for Pollinators in Landscapes, Insects in the Garden, Native Bees for Wyoming, and What's the Bug? The keynote speaker is Benjamin Vogt, a well-known writer about gardening. He will make two presentations: Designing Urban Prairie Gardens, and Native Plants that Support Native Pollinators. Read all about it here.
Gillette was certified as a Bee City USA affiliate on April 18, 2016. Each affiliate commits to hosting at least one pollinator awareness event each year.
Register Now--Organic Growers School March 11-12!
Back by popular demand, Organic Growers School Spring Conference is back on the UNC Asheville campus with more than 150 workshops on topics ranging from cooking to mushrooms to pollinators.
Bee City USA has partnered with Organic Growers School to offer a pollinator track with outstanding presenters:
Creating Monarch Habitats - Kim Bailey
Invite monarchs to lunch by growing milkweed and providing a succession of nectar plants throughout the season! Take an in-depth look at monarch natural history, migration, and habitat needs. Discuss pollinator plant propagation, techniques for rearing caterpillars indoors, and explore related citizen-science projects.
Enhancing Farm Diversity to Support Pollinators - Nancy Lee Adamson
Floral diversity on farms supports pollinators and many other insects that benefit our farms, gardens, and watersheds. Learn about some of our smaller farm heroes: the most common types of bees, wasps, flies, beetles, and other wildlife that help ensure healthy harvests.
Growing Native Plants from Seed - Pat Sommers
Discuss seed morphology, pollination and the importance of species plants in a highly hybridized world. You'll plant two six-packs with a variety of native seeds while learning germination requirements and the what, how and why of growing them.
Integrating Pollinators into the Garden - Angie Lavezzo
Learn the benefits of attracting pollinators to your vegetable gardens for boosting natural pest control, increased yields, and overall beauty.
Meet the 'Other' Bees - Jill Sidebottom
Native bees were the New World's pollinator work horses long before the honey bee was brought here from Europe. Discover the rich diversity of native bees in western NC, and learn how to recognize the most common groups and how to increase them in your garden or farm.
Plant-Pollinator Interactions - Tim Spira
Have you ever wondered why there is such an incredible diversity of flower shapes, sizes, colors, and fragrances in nature? Discover how plant-pollinator interactions have been a key force generating the diversity of flowers that we see in nature.
Who Pollinates Your Food? - Phyllis Stiles
Plants and their pollinators co-evolved over millions of years in mutually beneficial ways. Today three-quarters of the world's crops benefit from pollinators, either for producing seeds or improving the quality and/or quantity of yields. Get ready to be amazed at how crafty flowers can be!
Half-Day Workshop: Beekeeping Basics - Sarah Eshan McKinney & Diane Almond
Learn what's involved with the magic of honeybees: time, money, equipment, and management options and issues to enjoy and sustain healthy hives. Class will be taught through PowerPoint, beekeeping equipment, and handouts.
Can You Help? Organic Growers School Needs Moderators for Spring Conference
Moderating is a VERY IMPORTANT job. Moderators represent OGS and are OGS' eyes and ears in the classrooms to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Contact Sera Deva if you are interested in volunteering for Organic Growers School.
Learn more here.
Moderator Time Commitments:
Friday Moderator Training (all Sat/Sun moderators) at UNCA: 6:00pm-7:00pm in Karpen 244 (second floor, facing the quad) with Karin and Lee. The training will cover what we expect from our moderators, as well as a crash course in using a Smart Classroom.
Friday Pre-Conference Moderators: 9:15am-4:45pm
Saturday Moderators: 8:45am-12:30pm, 1:45pm-5:30pm
Sunday Moderators: 8:45am-12:30pm, 1:45pm-5:30pm
Door Monitor: Before your track begins, stand at the door and make sure that everyone entering has a wrist band. If someone does not have a wristband, please send them to Conference Headquarters.
Take Attendance: This is very important because it lets OGS know how popular the classes were. "Attendance" in this case just means counting all the people who came.
Classroom Setup, Management & Troubleshooting: You will manage the flow of chairs, people, and space. Make seating suggestions, move chairs around, and assure that the classroom is comfortable (in temperature and atmosphere as well). If there are AV issues or problems with light, sound, etc., please try to solve the problem or contact the Volunteer Coordinator.
FACILITATE during questioning for the speaker. Example: If four people raise their hands at the same time, you can "stack", meaning, you will delegate who goes 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Many speakers will do this themselves, but sometimes it is helpful for you to assist. Check with the speaker to find out if they'd prefer to have questions throughout the class or a time towards the end specifically as a questions/answer session.
Time Management: Ask the teacher how they would prefer help with time management and give them appropriate signals at halfway, 30 minutes left, 10 minutes left and time.
Announcements: Welcome everyone to the Annual Spring Conference! This class is (state the exact name of the class so people can tell if they are in the right place). Make housekeeping announcements.
Complete an Evaluation Form FOR EACH CLASS: This is very important because it lets OGS know how popular the classes were. "Attendance" in this case just means counting all the people in the class about halfway through. Please be sure to return your moderator folder, with evaluations included, to OGS Headquarters. This is really important feedback for our future planning.
Cleanup: Please make sure the space is completely cleaned up or transitioned to the next class before you leave.
Photos (Optional): Please take some photos and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org to build OGS' library of images.
Twitter (Optional): Are you a twitter user and/or Instagram user? Tweet/Post about the conference with hashtag #SpringConference17 or tag @organicgrowersschool!
Blog Write Up (Optional): OGS would love to publish a write up of the class you are attending in your name, which we'll share through social media.
***Moderating is one of the most important jobs you can possibly have! Please know that the information you will be procuring for OGS and the services you will be providing are essential to the conference! We appreciate your time and willingness to help out!
Bee City USA Director Phyllis Stiles and Bee City USA Science Advisory Board member Dr. Doug Tallamy, founder of the Bringing Nature Home movement, will be just two of the 100 speakers from around the globe at the Smithsonian's Earth Optimism Summit in Washington over the April 21-23 weekend. The Summit at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center is complemented by other public events and exhibits at Smithsonian Institutions.
Here's what the event site says about this unprecedented summit:
"What's Working in Conservation: Earth Optimism celebrates a change in focus from problem to solution in the area of global conservation with an unprecedented gathering of thought leaders, scientists, environmentalists, artists, civic leaders and international media.
The global conservation movement has reached a turning point. We have documented the fast pace of habitat loss, the growing number of endangered and extinct species, and the increasing speed of global climate change. Yet while the seriousness of these threats cannot be denied, there are a growing number of examples of improvements in the health of species and ecosystems, along with benefits to human well-being, thanks to our conservation actions. Earth Optimism is a global initiative that celebrates a change in focus from problem to solution, from a sense of loss to one of hope, in the dialogue about conservation and sustainability."
Register here to take advantage of Early Bird Specials. Students are highly encouraged to attend and there is a student rate.
Join the #EarthOptimism movement - get people talking about what's working near you http://earthoptimism.si.edu/satellite-events/http://earthoptimism.si.edu/satellite-events/
Or to make it really simple, just go on twitter, search for #EarthOptimism, and retweet your favorite posts.
The Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund will release their 2017 Request for Proposals for funding today. Grant funding will be awarded in two categories:
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will host a grant application webinar for interested applicants on Monday, February 13th at 12:00 pm Eastern Time/11:00 AM Central Time. You may register here.
Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, educational institutions, international organizations, and federal, state, tribal, and local governments. Federal entities, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, may be interested in partnering with non-profit organizations. Now is the time to have those partnership conversations in order to meet the March 13 pre-proposal deadline.
For guidance and any questions, Caroline Oswald is the program manager at NFWF and is open to helping you start crafting your proposal. You can reach Caroline at: Caroline.email@example.com, 612-564-7253.
All details (RFP, timeline, tip sheets) can be found online here.
Timeline of the 2017 Monarch Fund:
Wednesday, February 8th--RFP released
Monday, February 13th--Applicant Webinar
Monday, March 13th--Pre-proposals Due
Tuesday, April 11th-- Invitations for Full Proposals are Announced
Tuesday, May 9th-- Full Proposal Due
Early August-- NFWF Board Review of Grants to be Funded
Thursday, August 10th-- 2017 Grant Slate Announced
Any changes to the timeline will be announced on the website: http://www.nfwf.org/monarch
The rooftop bees of the Renaissance Asheville Hotel invite you to join them February 9, at 5:30-7:30, to benefit the world AND the Center for Honeybee Research! Compare your palette to the judges' of the 6th annual International Black Jar Honey Tasting Contest. Your $25 ticket includes wine or beer, appetizers, music by Benavides and Wolf, a raffle, and a chance to taste 27 truly unique honeys and vote on your Peoples' Choice ballot. Cash bar available. Winning honey to be auctioned.
To get your tickets to this exciting event click here Tickets will be $35 at the door.
The illustrious judges: Katie Button, Jonathan Ammons, Stu Helms, Phyllis Stiles, Dr. Barry Pate, Jr., Chef Richard Petrelli, Nancy Williams, Emily Jackson, Butch Thompson, Cathy Cleary and YOU!
More than 100 bee advocates were invited to participate in a 3-day conference in Marin County, California from December 10-13. The public summary presentation by thought leaders Mark Winston, Tom Seeley, Marla Spivak, Jim Frazier, William Klett, Stephen Martin, Heather Mattila, and Chaz Mraz will be held tonight at Dominican University.
Conference organizer Bonnie Morse would have been hard-pressed to find an opening speaker who could have charged us to be more audacious--Larry Brilliant, the first leader of Google.org and a leader of a public health team that successfully eradicated small pox as a public health threat.
The conference mantra was to be open-minded and think big. Stay tuned for the audacious ideas spawned by both a sense of urgency to reverse pollinator declines and a willingness to listen intently to one another.
Representatives from five Bee City USA affiliates attended: Laura Bee from Ashland, OR; Sharon Schmidt from Phoenix, OR; Bob Redmond from Seattle, WA; Patricia Algara from San Francisco, CA; and Phyllis Stiles, director of Bee City USA, from Asheville, NC.
Under the leadership of Roderick Simmons, the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department has been moving away from synthetic chemicals for pest management and fertilization to completely organic landscape management during the past two years.
On August 10 after spending all day training Asheville Parks and Recreation staff in organic lawn care methods, Chip Osborne, president of Osborne Organics, and Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides, led a 2+ hour public workshop at Lenoir Rhyne University's Center for Graduate Studies. The workshop was sponsored by Beyond Pesticides, the City of Asheville, Toxic Free NC, Bee City USA, and the Asheville Alternative to Pesticides Coalition.
About 50 people, many of them from the plant retailer or landscaping industry, attended the very informative workshop where Feldman summarized the origins of our national pesticide treadmill and Osborne explained working WITH nature and soil biology to maintain healthy turf lawns.
Cities maintain large expanses of turf lawns in public parks and athletic fields. As the inaugural affiliate of Bee City USA, the City of Asheville was selected by Beyond Pesticides and Osborne Organics to not only engage in this training, but also to test the methodology at three city-owned sites: Martin Luther KIng Park, Pack Square Park, and a new community garden. They have tested soil samples from each location and designed a management strategy in response. This coming year they will collaborate on implementing the plan.
The Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA programs encourage affiliates to practice organic, "least toxic," integrated pest management as espoused by Osborne Organics and Beyond Pesticides. It was encouraging to hear Chip Osborne support reducing lawns and expanding flower beds generally for the health of pollinators and other wildlife, and explain that including clover in lawns is good for soil, since clover is "nitrogen-fixing." Indeed, until the 1950's, grass seed mixes included clover!
This summer, Troop 91 Eagle Scout Bennett David led a scout class at The North Carolina Arboretum to make "seed bombs" with the help of Nina Veteto at Monarch Rescue. These seed bombs will be thrown to "bomb the bank" at the Franklin School of Innovation in Enka, in order to create a native pollinator meadow on a large bank on the school campus. "Seed bombs" are made from native wildflower seeds and compost, rolled in clay. The scouts made over 50 pounds of seed bombs, while earning their Fish and Wildlife Merit Badge.
Bennett led the same activity with the students at the Franklin School of Innovation. where they installed a Monarch Butterfly Waystation. The project is the first of 4 schools that was funded through a grant from ThermoFisher Scientific. The Franklin School will use the garden and a pollinator meadow as part of their hands-on science curriculum. Over 180 students and 25 faculty members worked over 340 hours to prepare the site and install the Monarch Waystation. Bennett is working to encourage other scouts or other groups to consider planting Pollinator Gardens.
On September 19, Bennett will also lead an activity where visitors to the North Carolina Arboretum can make seed bombs at the Monarch Day event.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about planning your own scout or student project.
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA director and board.