The green metallic Augochlorella aurata is the most common bee in the DC area (USGS Native Bee Laboratory)
There’s been a lot of news about bees recently, and much of it hasn’t been good. Reports of colony collapses along with the commercialization of bees point to serious trouble for these crucial members of our ecosystem. In a day spent looking at the pollinators through varied lenses, discover the ways humans and bees are inextricably linked, and how much we rely on them: When the hive thrives, we all thrive.
Hear about Smithsonian research on the ecological relationship between bees and other pollinators and their environment. Meet an artist who is spreading the news about the plight of bees through his murals. Learn from an urban beekeeper how to make your green space bee friendly. And enjoy a tasting of honeys. Sweet!
9:30–10:45 a.m. Bee Basics
Start the day with a primer on the basic anatomy, habitat, and behavior of bees. Sam Droege, a wildlife biologist from the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab (BIML), Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland, talks about native and nonnative bees, how to identify them, and how to work with pollinators in your backyard. Droege draws on his work surveying the North American wild bee population by using macro portraits of bees to explain the state of the current bee population.
11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Smithsonian Perspectives: Native Biodiversity and Conservation
As a biologist studying native pollinators and other wildlife, Amy Johnson, program director for Virginia Working Landscapes at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, expands on the important role of native plant biodiversity in pollinator health. Through the Virginia Working Landscapes research initiative, she works closely with private landowners, citizen scientists, NGO’s, state agencies, and research scientists to investigate the impact of conservation management on land use and biodiversity.
12:15–1:15 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own)
1:30–2:15 p.m. Bees and Art: The Good of the Hive
A thriving honey bee hive needs at least 50,000 individual bees, and the health of the individual is based on the health of the collective. Matthew Willey, an artist and founder of The Good of the Hive Initiative, talks about his commitment to raising awareness about the wellbeing of honeybees through his murals (one of which is located here in Washington D.C.), and about his upcoming project at the National Zoo.
2:30–4 p.m. Urban Beekeeping and Honey Tasting
Toni Burnham, president of the D.C. Beekeeper’s Alliance, ends the day with a guide to urban beekeeping, with suggestions on how to make your urban and suburban space more pollinator friendly. Her talk concludes with a tasting of honeys produced by bees who forage in different environments.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)