Getting to Know the Bees

There’s so much more to being a bee than meets the eye.

I’m spending my week at a bee identification workshop, learning about the diversity of Missouri bees and how to identify representative species. Mike Arduser, Missouri bee expert, is teaching the workshop.


I spent a day collecting with Mike last summer, when he completed a survey of wild bees at two of Kansas City Missouri’s prairie reserves, Jerry Smith Park and Swope Park’s Rocky Point Glade.

A whopping eighty-nine bee species were identified during that survey, including twenty specialist bees and two new species for the state. Jerry Smith Park, in particular, was determined to be a “high quality, functioning tall grass prairie remnant of regional significance.” You can read a summary of their findings at the KC Parks web site.

My decision to attend the bee identification workshop is part of an ongoing effort to re-tool and explore new research opportunities in the Kansas City area, including short term projects that my Avila students can complete as part of their capstone experience. Not only is Jerry Smith Park interesting from a biological and conservation standpoint, it’s very conveniently located, just a few miles south of the Avila campus.

All that to say, I won’t be on line much this week, because Missouri bees will be getting all my love and attention.

I did want to share a piece of news from a couple weeks ago that I never got around to mentioning here: Apex Reviews posted a very nice 5 star review of Sword of Shadows. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Author Karin Gastreich hones the technique of her first installment into a masterful work of prose, providing us with a truly breathtaking world and unforgettable characters….Gastreich’s world is filled with imperfect heroes and charming villains, all forced to navigate a world in which the rules of wartime have changed the game.”

The full text of the review has been posted on Goodreads, and you can read it here.

That’s all for now. Next week, classes start (Aaaaaaaaagh!), so I will definitely be back with more news.

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