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 email@example.com 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.
By Kim Bailey
The 2016-2017 population estimate for monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico was announced on February 9. Because the butterflies are clustered so closely at their overwintering sites, individual monarchs cannot be counted. Instead, the area of forest that is densely coated with butterflies is measured. This winter, the area occupied by the butterfly colonies covers 7.19 acres (2.91 hectares) and contains an estimated 146 million butterflies. This represents a 27% decrease compared to last year’s survey, which is conducted every winter in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve by scientists from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Mexico.
Some good news is this winter’s population estimate is actually higher than had been expected by many. The 2016 season began with catastrophic ice/snow storm that struck the overwintering colonies in March (after the 2015-2016 winter population measurements had been made) just as the migration north was beginning. Low numbers of adult butterflies were subsequently reported in the U.S. during the spring of 2016.
A graph of historic population records (measured in acres) is available at the Journey North website. Overwintering monarchs reached a peak population covering 44.93 acres in the winter of 1996-1997 and show a long-term average of about 15 acres. Though this winter’s estimate is the second largest population measurement reported in the past six seasons, it is still 47% below the long-term average.
Researchers, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and agencies have been collaborating under the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership to identify targets for monarch conservation. By 2020, the primary objective is to increase monarch population numbers to 6 hectares (about 15 acres) of area occupied in Mexico, or approximately 225 million individual butterflies. To reach this goal, habitat restoration is essential. The 2016 Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan calls for the addition of at least 1 to 1.5 billion milkweed stems (needed for monarch reproduction) and the abundant nectar resources to support monarch migration.
While monarch and other pollinator populations have been plummeting, public awareness and interest participating in their recovery has been surging. The groundswell of efforts to plant more milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants across the United States is extremely encouraging. Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA affiliates, along with concerned organizations and individuals, many in cooperation with government agencies, are increasing their efforts to spread awareness of the monarchs' plight. Monarch Watch even offers free milkweed plants appropriate to the locale to nonprofit organizations that commit to large scale habitat restoration. More and more nurseries are making milkweed and other native plants available to home gardeners wanting to do their part to help. Let's not be the last generation to see the great monarch migration!
In addition to becoming a certified Bee City USA or Bee Campus USA affiliate, here are ways you can help:
1) Create a pollinator garden and inform others by registering, certifying and/or posting a pollinator habitat sign.
About the Author
Bee City USA Board Member Kim Bailey recently returned from visiting several monarch sanctuaries in Mexico. Kim first visited the sanctuaries in 2002 and has since co-led several trips to the area. With an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction - Science Education, and environmental educator for over 20 years, Kim has enjoyed a wide range of experiences including teaching middle school life science, leading wilderness adventure trips, conducting ecology outreach programs, directing outdoor education programs, and training teachers and naturalists. She has also volunteered for the National Wildlife Federation Habitat Stewards, Master Gardeners, Georgia Native Plant Society, and Monarchs Across Georgia. After 14 years coordinating a statewide environmental education program for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, she fulfilled her longtime dream of launching Milkweed Meadows Farm in Fruitland, NC. She now enjoys growing milkweed, wildflowers, fruits, and vegetables; producing open-pollinated seeds for Sow True Seed; keeping bees and raising butterflies. Kim also works for the Captain Planet Foundation as their Curriculum Editor. The Foundation has a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education through engaging youth in environmental stewardship projects and schoolyard gardening programs. In particular, their ecoSTEM® Resource Kits, Project Hero, and Project Learning Garden programs aim to empower students to help protect pollinators.
The Pollinator Partnership (P2) invites applications for its Executive Director position. P2's founder and long-time Executive Director Laurie Davies Adams announced her pending retirement at the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign annual conference in October, 2016. Laurie launched the Pollinator Partnership twenty years ago in San Francisco when there was relatively little talk of bees or monarch butterflies.
Saying she leaves huge shoes to fill is a gross understatement. She has led the organization in creating the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), National Pollinator Week and 31 Ecoregional Native Planting Guides for Pollinators. Laurie has signed agreements with over 11 federal agencies influencing over 1.5 billion acres of US land to encourage pollinator conservation. She was a key consultant with the White House on the Presidential Memorandum on Pollinators and instrumental in the development of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.
P2 initiated the National Academies of Science National Research Council study, “Status of Pollinators of North America,” which generated over 300 articles; collectively wrote White Paper “Bombus terrestrus”; published multiple in-house peer-reviewed publications on pollinator conservation and biology as well as publications in industry magazines and journals influencing policy and practice. P2 also created and maintains a vibrant Listserv for daily updates to stakeholders. P2 developed educational brochures on wide ranging topics and organized annual pollinator posters – approx. 500K distributed all around the world.
Click here for a snapshot of the multitude of ways that P2 has raised the profile of pollinator conservation and catalyzed action throughout North America under Laurie's collaborative leadership style. Bee City USA is extremely grateful to Laurie and P2 for the resources they have shared, the introductions they have made through NAPPC, and for their encouragement to our young organization.
Here is the job description. All applications and inquiries should be directed to CEA Recruiting. To be considered for this position, interested candidates must follow the link below to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements through CEA’s job portal. This position will remain open until filled. http://job.ceaconsulting.com/jobs/executive-director-washington-dc-or-san-francisco-ca-37089
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.firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
Fighting Insect Pests with Insects in Plant Nursery Industry: Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides Releases New Video
The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides has produced a free, 8 minute video on how Oregon nursery producers are learning to deploy predatory insects in their greenhouses and fields to combat insect pests like white flies, thrips and spider mites. They explored the new approach with Oregon State University after they saw that pests had become resistant to the insecticides they were using. The surprise was that while it required retraining staff, it generally didn't cost any more than using synthetic pesticides. Watch the video here or on NCAP's YouTube channel.
It's no wonder that student intern Megan Tyminski led the effort for the University of Missouri (AKA Mizzou) to apply for certification as a Bee Campus USA affiliate in 2016. She has three titles: Communications Intern for the Mizzou Botanic Garden (MUBG), VP of Projects for Sustain Mizzou and Project Leader for Sustain Mizzou Beekeeping. Megan recently shared a TV news article about their certification and the following story.
"Mizzou Botanic Garden has been working diligently to recognize the importance of pollinators through programming, events, education and action. On October 24, Bee Campus USA officially recognized MUBG’s efforts by naming the University of Missouri as the 15th educational institution in the nation – and first in the SEC and Midwest region – to the Bee Campus USA program. This signifies pollinator conservation as an official, campus-wide commitment.
The commitments MU has agreed to include establishing a committee with various stakeholders, hosting events and workshops, creating habitats and educating the community. MUBG has been a leading force in carrying out these agreements.
MUBG hosted a National Pollinator Week Symposium, educated groups such as the Boys & Girls Club of Columbia and Columbia Public Schools through pollinator day camps, supported Sustain Mizzou’s beekeeping project, planted native species in the landscaping and holds a seat on the statewide Missourians for Monarchs Collaborative.
MUBG’s interest in pollinators piqued when Chip Taylor from Monarch Watch spoke about milkweed restoration. Since then, MUBG has continued to collaborate with various communities and engaged with them on pollinator conservation.
Each year, MUBG must reapply to retain its Bee Campus USA designation. This means that as the university learns more, it will continue to evolve and do more to protect pollinators. In the future, MUBG hopes to establish beehives at A.L. Gustin Golf Course, create more habitat areas and involve the community in more events.
Learn more about the Mizzou Botanic Garden and the University of Missouri's programs to create habitat for pollinators here."
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!
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has announced an exciting new Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative to reverse the decline of monarch butterflies. Read the press release here.
The effort represents a partnership between the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the USFWS and targets agricultural land in the eastern monarch's primary migration corridor between Canada and Mexico.
The press release states, "Much of this work will focus on planting and enhancing stands of milkweed and other high-value nectar plants for monarchs. Assistance is available to producers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin."
While the USFWS has committed $20 million over five years to the initiative, they are actively working with other organizations and agencies in the United States, Mexico and Canada to leverage other public and private funding sources. Another bonus is that increasing habitat for monarchs increases habitat for other species, including a wide variety of pollinators.
According to the press release, "Through the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, released by the White House, the United States has a goal of increasing the eastern population of monarchs back to 225 million by 2020."
While being on the endangered list would seem like a horrible state for a species, in fact it is a hopeful step for the once abundant rusty patched bumble bee. According to the New York Times, "When a species is listed as endangered, the Fish and Wildlife Service is required to design a recovery plan, which is often carried out by other agencies, nongovernmental organizations, universities and tribes. Other federal agencies have to check that their actions will not hurt an endangered species or its habitat, particularly when it comes to land use planning."
Kudos to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Xerces Society, photographer and documentarian Clay Bolt, and others for securing this status for the rusty patched bumblebee in a relatively short period of time compared with the time it has taken for other species. The fact that a bumble bee was declared endangered is an indicator of the growing awareness of the role that bees and other pollinators play both in food security and the reproduction of ninety percent of the world's wild plant species.
Here is the New York Times article and the Xerces Society's press release.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service final rule (Public Inspection Document, scheduled to be published 1/11/17) is available on the Federal Register, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/11/2017-00195/endangered-and-threatened-species-rusty-patched-bumble-bee
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA director and board.