My bee page is now updated – check it out for details about our 2020 field season. I’m excited about my projects, coordinated as always with KC Wildlands, KC Parks, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). We’re going to conduct a standardized survey of a unique habitat in the Kansas City area, the rocky glade. We’ll also be assessing the impact of a new management technique designed to better protect vulnerable stem-nesting bees in small prairie remnants.
In other news, I connected with Dr. Hollis Woodard this week at the University of California, Riverside. She is organizing a National U.S. Native Bee Monitoring Network and will include our KCMO project! I’m very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with native bee biologists nationwide. Bees are facing many critical threats, but there is also a great synergy right now between different sectors that want to understand and protect them.
I found out about the native bee monitoring network from Matt Kelley’s The Bee Report, a great resource for worldwide bee news and research. You can follow Matt’s website or connect with The Bee Report on Facebook. The Bee Report also has a brand new podcast, which I highly recommend. Episode 1 discusses a lawsuit against adding bumblebees to the endangered species list in the state of California.
Another great source for pollinator news, especially if you are into beautiful glossy magazines, is the new publication 2 Million Blossoms. Edited by Dr. Kirsten S. Traynor, the quarterly magazine is packed full of articles that are especially helpful for fans of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscaping. 2 Million Blossoms expands its scope beyond native bees, including honey bees and those other great North American pollinators, butterflies.
Those among my long-time followers know that February is not easy for me. During this time, I commemorate the end of my marriage – not because it ended in February, but because several dates that used to be important for us cluster around these weeks. Some say time heals all wounds, but time doesn’t heal anything – not on its own. What heals is time together with a lot of hard internal work; reliable support from friends, colleagues, and family; and a stubborn – almost belligerent – willingness focus on aspects of life that bring us joy.
During the process of healing, I was occasionally told to “just let it go.” But one can never “just let go” of real pain and anger. Pain and anger must be deliberately confronted, grappled with, and understood, before it can be cleaned out of one’s life and soul. Even then, you learn to accept there will always be some dust in the corners – or maybe even an entire box of old clothes in the basement – that you missed the first time around and will have to deal with later.
It’s also true that when what we thought was secure crumbles, we often find the freedom to build something better – or at least, better suited to who we are now. My divorce forced me into precisely that sort of transition. On the whole, while this has been difficult, it has also been good.
This weekend, I’ll celebrate Dia de la Amistad by giving some love to the Earth and participating in the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count. This is a wonderful and easy way to help scientists monitor the status of birds worldwide. Also, it’s fun to watch birds! If you’d like to participate, you can sign up on the GBBC Website. I hope you do!
Enjoy the weekend. Spring is coming.