Aaron Anderson on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

In this episode, Aaron Anderson, a Ph.D. student in the OSU Department of Horticulture, talks about his research on gardening with native plants. Under the direction of Dr. Gail Langellotto, Aaron is researching native plants that support ecosystem services; that gardeners find attractive, and that they would want.

Currently, Aaron is running a large field trial at OSU’s North Willamette Research Center studying 23 native Willamette Valley wildflower species. Aaron monitors the floral bloom, performs timed pollinator observations, and samples the insect community on each plot. Additionally, he is currently asking gardeners to rank the aesthetics of these flowers via an online survey. From this research, Aaron plans on developing pollinator-friendly planting lists of PNW native wildflowers that are also attractive to home gardeners.

Listen in to learn what native plants are best for your garden, both for increasing the health of local pollinators and adding beauty to your garden.

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“There have been very few studies that have been done on the relative attractiveness of different plants to pollinators, especially in a garden-type setting.” – Aaron Anderson

Show Notes:

  • What makes a study like Aaron’s necessary, even with the abundance of free information online
  • Why there is no “superplant” for pollinator gardens
  • Why Aaron chose to study native plants in garden spaces for increasing the health of pollinators
  • How Aaron crafted his study, and what steered his decisions
  • Why the results of two similar studies on the most attractive plants to pollinators came out so different
  • Why native plants are so crucial in attracting honeybees
  • Which plants were found to be the top five for attracting pollinators to your garden
  • How Aaron sees less aesthetically desirable plants adding to the beauty of your garden
  • How the market is shifting from purely aesthetic decisions for gardens towards more functional ideas
  • What’s next for Aaron and his research
  • How you can tell a honeybee apart from other bees

“The nice thing about a lot of these annuals is that if you don’t like how they like after or right before they go to seed, you can really easily just pull them out.” – Aaron Anderson

Links Mentioned:

Kim Flottum on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

This week we talk with Kim Flottum. Kim has not only thought long and hard about communicating with people of bees, as editor of Bee Culture and BEEKeeping magazines, but he has a tremendous sense of the history of this endeavor, being situated in the historic A. I. Root Company in Medina, OH. Kim is also invested in the future of teaching people about bees with initiatives such as the KIM&JIM Show webinars with Jim Tew and Beekeeping Today podcasts with Jeff Ott.

Learn how Kim Flottum is taking beekeeping education into the future, and how he is following in legendary beekeeping educator Amos Root’s footsteps.

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“We have gone from pencil-writing answers to letters, to the electronic age, and it has opened the door to anybody and everybody who wants to talk about anything.” – Kim Flottum

Show Notes:

  • What Bee Culture is and where it came from
  • How a novice bee enthusiast eventually authored an encyclopedia of bee and bee-related information
  • How Kim and A. I. Root Company are getting information to budding keepers in the digital age
  • What “The KIM&JIM Show” is and what it provides beekeepers around the world
  • How Kim sees his educational resources expanding to become more interactive
  • Why Kim carried the educational spirit of A. I. Root Company on to podcasts
  • How Amos Root inadvertently came to know the Wright Brothers and where their friendship led him

“We wanted to put information into the hands of people so they would succeed their first year and their second year, and by their third year, they would be growing.” – Kim Flottum

Links Mentioned:

Harry Vanderpool on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Harry Vanderpool has been a beekeeper for 25 years in the south hills of Salem, Oregon. Vanderpool Farms is now a family operation providing pollination services and farm direct honey. Harry has served as Vice President and President of the Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association and Vice President and President of the Oregon State Beekeepers Association, and enjoys working with stakeholders and sometimes conflicting agricultural sectors in a balanced manner to find solutions that will offer meaningful pollinator protection strategies.

Listen in to learn Harry’s effective communication methods, how he builds bridges with others in agriculture, and what he’s done for pollinators in the PNW.

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“We’re really all working hard and trying to make a living at the same time, and working together is the answer to that.” – Harry Vanderpool

Show Notes:

  • How Harry learned to communicate with growers who use pesticides with his bees
  • ‘Christmas tree honey’ and why it attracts honeybees
  • The key for Harry in developing good relationships with pesticide applicators
  • How to help crop producers understand the role bees play and how it will help them
  • How Harry further develops the partnership between his bees and the growers
  • Why it’s important that ‘pollination services’ are provided instead of renting the hives
  • The way Harry helps others use resources to prevent bee poisoning with pesticides
  • What resources Harry has provided to crop consultants, growers, and beekeepers in the Pacific Northwest, and how it has affected pollinator health

“There’s no easy money in agriculture, and banging your fist on the table and pointing your finger will put walls up. I want to build bridges.” – Harry Vanderpool

Links Mentioned:

David Cantlin on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

David Cantlin is the Facility and Operations Manager for the City of Fife in Washington State, where he is implementing his Bee Clover project. His goal is to educate the people of Fife of the wonderful benefits that clover provides, as well as using public lands to create stronger habitats for pollinators, as well as a more enriched ecosystem. In this episode we hear about the City of Fife’s initiative to increase the amount of blooming clover available to bees on their city properties.

In this episode, we hear about the City of Fife’s initiative to increase the amount of blooming clover available to bees on their city properties.

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“Clover attracts bees and other pollinators, so it benefits the ecology of the area.” – David Cantlin

Show Notes:

  • Why people in David’s position often remove clover from their land
  • What changed David’s mind about clover
  • How David experimented with using clover on his land
  • David’s goals with his project
  • How clover can help improve an ecosystem for plants as well as pollinators
  • What the process was in establishing clover in Fife
  • The symbiotic relationship between clover and turf grass
  • How the different clover varieties have worked in David’s project
  • How the people of Fife have received the abundance of clover
  • What’s next for the Bee Clover project

“This program, if it takes off and we can expand, may be a revival for the bees.” – David Cantlin

Links Mentioned:

Amy Cox on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

How can we ask not what greenspaces can do for us but what greenspaces can do for the environment? Portland-based Pro Time Lawn Seed was one of the first businesses to tackle this question, with the founder of the company developing low-maintenance and low-input lawn seed mixes, and the new owners expanding the mission to promote pollinator habitat, species diversity and soil health. PolliNation wanted to learn more, so in this episode, I visit an eco-lawn in a Portland backyard with Pro Time owner Amy Cox (on the left, also in the picture are co-owners Josh Middleton and Dawn Griffin). We look over a lawn seeded with Fleur de Lawn, a mix developed in conjunction with Dr. Tom Cook at Oregon State University, who began working on lawn alternatives in 1985. We talk about the benefits of using eco-lawns, how they work, and to establish them, and then walk across the lawns looking for bees. Pro Time has seventeen new eco-lawn, meadow, wildflower and native seed mixes in their selection.

Listen in to learn more about eco-lawns, what brought Amy into this business, and what makes eco-lawns ideal for all different kinds of home owners.

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“I think I’ve always wanted to something that helped other people, and that’s turned into something that can not only help people, but animals, insects, and the environment.” – Amy Cox

Show Notes:

  • How Amy got into the eco-lawn business
  • What still inspires Amy about this business
  • The benefits of having and keeping an eco-lawn
  • How easy it is to maintain an eco-lawn
  • What makes eco-lawns easier to maintain than regular lawns
  • The different types of eco-lawns and where they are best suited
  • Why Pro Time Lawn Seed began working on the eco-lawn
  • Why the Pacific Northwest is the ideal place for this kind of business to thrive
  • How Pro Time Lawn Seed bridges the gap between them and science and education
  • What separates Amy’s company from others in the seed business
  • What is in Pro Time Lawn Seed’s seed mixes

“Probably all that’s required [in maintaining an eco-lawn] is a little bit of patience, maybe following a bit of instruction, but it’s not difficult.” – Amy Cox

Links Mentioned:

Project Apis m. on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Our guest today is Danielle Downey, the Executive Director for Project Apis m., whose mission is to fund and direct research to enhance the health and vitality of honey bee colonies while improving crop production. Danielle has been working with honey bees and the parasites that plague them for 25 years. Her background includes training and research from bee labs in Minnesota, Canada and France; beekeeper education, work with commercial beekeepers and queen breeders, regulatory work as a State Apiarist in Utah and Hawaii, and wrangling bees for TV and film. She has worked closely with the Apiary Inspectors of America, Bee Informed Project and a bee breeding project with collaborators in Hawaii, Louisiana and Europe selecting and refining Varroa resistant bees. She holds a BSc from University of Minnesota and an MSc from Simon Fraser University.

Listen in to learn how Project Apis m. has accomplished valuable and sustained research for both pollinators and the agriculture and beekeeping industries.

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“We know that scientific research is the best way to answer questions about how to do business and improve agriculture…and beekeepers and growers, at the time of Colony Collapse Disorder, had really pressing questions that nobody was answering.” – Danielle Downey

Show Notes:

  • What got Danielle into studying bees
  • When and why Danielle started the Project Apis m.
  • Why a project like Apis m. is so valuable for everybody in the agriculture and beekeeping industry
  • How Danielle has centralized support for their project’s goal
  • How Project Apis m. maintains their scope and goal over their long timeline
  • What Project Apis m. has accomplished since it’s inception
  • Why Danielle is looking to change our chemical treatment of varroa
  • Why Project Apis m. believes that “practical is tactical”
  • What makes a promising proposal for Project Apis m.
  • What Project Apis m.’s “Seeds For Bees” program has done to help growers establish pollinator habitats
  • How Danielle’s project has helped them learn more ways to fight common pollinator problems
  • The importance of cover crops in efficiently grown agricultural areas
  • How farmers can use unused or unprofitable portions of their farm to create pollinator habitats
  • How Project Apis m.’s “Seeds For Bees” intersects with monarch butterfly conservation

“What it takes to make the change on the ground is to show and prove what is happening, and then outreach to educate on the alternatives, and change those practices.” – Danielle Downey

Links Mentioned:

Oregon Pollinator Week 2018 on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Oregon just hosted its largest Pollinator Week in its history and we thought it was a great opportunity to catch up with some of the people who made the over 20 events in the state happen. We start the episode at the Pollinator Festival in Klamath Falls (June 22) where we caught up with Dr. Nicole Sanchez (Assistant Professor, Horticulture, OSU) and Akimi King (Biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service), we then met up with Rich Little (Linn County Master Gardeners, Oregon Bee Atlas) and Tim Wydronek (Linn Benton Beekeepers Association) at the event at the Corvallis Farmers Market (June 23), followed by Pam Leavitt (Lane County Beekeepers Association) and Alison Center (North American Butterfly Association) at the Eugene Science Center (June 23). The episode concludes at the final event of Oregon Pollinator Week at the High Desert Museum in Bend with Margaret Marshall (Master Gardeners) and Louise Shirley (Natural History Curator, High Desert Museum). It’s a great episode to learn how to engage the public around issues of pollinator health.

Listen in to this special episode to learn how young students can learn about pollinator science and health, and the way education is changing young minds.

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“It’s so cool to see so many kids out here checking out pollinators, and how sophisticated they are and how they really do know a lot about these insects already.” – Nicole Sanchez

Show Notes:

  • How Nicole is engaging school children in pollinator education
  • Why microscopes are a key component of early science education
  • The role of flies in pollination
  • Why kids will probably remember the time they made “bombs” for Oregon Pollinator Week
  • The importance of monarch butterflies in Klamath Falls
  • Why people need to know the difference between bees and wasps
  • How Tim is cleverly showing the importance of pollinators in our food
  • Tim’s advice for people interested in keeping bees of their own
  • Why Pam believes early childhood education is crucial
  • How education is changing fear of bees into curiosity
  • How to help out the monarch butterfly population
  • What makes Bend’s High Desert Museum unique
  • How the location of the High Desert Museum helps immerse it’s attendees

“I think the National Pollinator Week is very important because it gives us an opportunity to remind people what role pollinators play in their health.” – Rich Little

Links Mentioned:

Sally Rockey on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Last month the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) announced a $7 million investment in Pollinator Health. FFAR targeted key gaps in our ability to focus research into innovative and concrete initiatives that can change practices in the world. This week we are joined by Dr. Sally Rockey, who became the inaugural Executive Director of FFAR in 2015. Prior to this role, Dr. Rockey was an award-winning leader in Federal research. She spent 19 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she held a number of positions within the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Very early in her career she became the head of the competitive grants program, overseeing the extramural grants process and portfolio. Dr. Rockey brought her experience in agriculture research to her 11-year career at the National Institutes of Health, where she emphasized the connection between agriculture, food, and health. As Deputy Director for Extramural Research, Dr. Rockey oversaw the operations of the largest Federal extramural research program and led groundbreaking initiatives and activities that have and will have a lasting positive impact on the research community.

Dr. Rockey received her Ph.D. in Entomology from the Ohio State University and did postgraduate work at University of Wisconsin prior to joining the government. She has devoted her career to improving people’s lives through research and will continue her mission by seeing FFAR become an essential component of the scientific enterprise.

Listen in to today’s episode to learn more about FFAR, the work they are doing to help pollinator research, and how they are helping citizen scientists.

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“We consider the topic of pollinators and pollinator health to be vital to agriculture and to the success of the United States’s agriculture.” – Sally Rockey

Show Notes:

  • What FFAR is and how it was established
  • How FFAR worked to reach beyond standard conservation in helping pollinators
  • How citizen scientists can get involved with FFAR
  • The future of FFAR
  • How FFAR is associated with the USDA
  • What research FFAR is doing to improve pollinator habitats
  • Why education outreach is so important in achieving FFAR’s goals

“Because the public plays such an important role in pollinator health, it’s important to be able to educate the public.” – Sally Rockey

Links Mentioned:

Alan Turanski on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Alan leads vision, innovation and continuous improvements at GloryBee. Ranging from sustainability, technology, facilities and being a cause forward company, he is committed to ensuring GloryBee is a business as a force for good. Alan is an advocate for the honeybee and was also a driving force in developing GloryBee’s Save the Bee initiative, which donates to bee-saving projects. As a beekeeper, and someone who is considered knowledgeable in the field, Alan has served as spokesperson for the plight of the honeybee and promotion of conservation efforts, including testifying at the Oregon State Capitol in 2013 on the issue of honey bee colony losses.

Listen in as we talk about the Alan’s work with GloryBee, their raising of bee awareness, and how beginning beekeepers can get started.

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“Beekeeping is a beautiful balance between art and science, and the best beekeepers are very knowledgable scientifically, but they also instinctually are in tune with the bees.“ – Alan Turanski

Show Notes:

  • Why Alan became involved in helping save the bees
  • What Alan hoped to accomplish with his “Save The Bee” campaign
  • Why investing in education is so important to Alan
  • How the “Save The Bee” program works to help bees
  • How GloryBee has spread their message through partnerships
  • The process that honey goes through from honeycomb to store shelves
  • The many expected and unexpected flavors of honey
  • How beekeepers use the byproducts from collecting honey
  • Alan’s favorite tool and non-tool

“These [bees] are amazing creatures. The more you learn, the more you’re fascinated, and the more you’re enthralled.“ – Alan Turanski

Links Mentioned:

Jen Holt is the brand new Coordinator for the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program at OSU.

In this episode, we’ll learn about how Jen got interested in bees, what she sees for the future of the program, and the ins and outs of how the program functions today.

We discuss beekeeping education from the start to the master – how to take a regular person and turn them into a beekeeper. Jen is co-appointed to the OSU Pollinator Health Program, so we talk about creating synergy between the two programs.

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“We don’t want people to be turned away from beekeeping just because they don’t have the knowledge to succeed.” – Jen Holt

Show Notes:

  • How Jen learned to become a beekeeper
  • Some of the things that people who are interested in working with bees worry about
  • The many levels of the master beekeeping program in Oregon
  • How the geographic diversity of Oregon presents challenges and opportunities
  • How the master beekeepers teach the program in different part of the state
  • How the curriculum is developed for the program
  • How the program is powered by volunteers
  • What Jen Holt sees going forward for the program
  • How beekeeping connects us back to ancient times

“I would like to increase the partnership in the program between honey bees and native bees, because honey bees are often a gateway to learning about native bees.” – Jen Holt

Links Mentioned: