I’ve been presented with an exciting new opportunity–stumbled into it, really. Our core group of Somerset Beekeepers is made up of members who have been at it for 2 or more years now, and we are ready for some more advanced beekeeping topics–so I’ve been emailing various academics and beekeepers across the state trying to enlist guest speakers. When I contacted Alison Dibble–a conservation biologist and botanist with the University of Maine–she responded with a tantalizing offer to participate in a course that she and Frank Drummond are teaching at the Eagle Hill Institute in August.
For those of you who don’t know–Frank Drummond is one of the leading entomologists studying native bees and the effects of pollination on the landscape, much of his research revolves around wild blueberry pollination and reproductive ecology. You can read more about Frank here. Recently Professor Drummond was awarded a $3.3 million dollar research grant to fund a regional study of native bees. To read more about that project check out this article from the University of Maine.
The course is “Native Bees as Pollinators: Diversity, Ecology, Conservation, and Enhancing Pollinator Habitats”, and runs from August 4th through August 10th. Read all of the course details here. Essentially it’s a college course packed into a week spent on the summit of Eagle Hill, which is the highest part of Dyer Point–a peninsula between Acadia National Park and the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge. Through field work, lectures, and lab sessions I will hone my observational skills by studying native bees on flowers, pick up some new skills photographing insects, and learn more about the issues plaguing our native Maine pollinators, as well as how to enhance their habitat on my farm, in my gardens, and within my local community.
Effectively, we want to create–not just pollinator habitat at Runamuk–but also an outdoor classroom, where people from across the state can come to see firsthand how important pollinator habitat really is. As a keystone organism, the ecologies of many habitats are at risk so long as pollinator populations continue to decrease. We want to promote the health of those ecologies by supporting pollinators, who are also crucial to our food and ecosystems. Through conservation, education, and research I know we can make a difference. This course is another step along the path to achieving that end.
Help Runamuk on its mission to help pollinators and wildllife by donating today to help fund my study-trip to the Eagle Hill Institute! I need to raise $800 by August to pay for the course, and the opportunity to study alongside scientists dedicated to pollinator research and conservation. Just click on the button in my sidebar to make your donation today!