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

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Dr Sara Galbraith on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Dr. Sara Galbraith is a postdoctoral researcher in the Forest Animal Ecology Lab at Oregon State University in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. She has a B.A. in Biology from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Idaho and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica. Her research focuses on understanding the influence of human-caused and natural disturbances on pollinator communities, especially in forest habitats. Sara has studied how land use change in Costa Rica and wildfire severity in southwestern Oregon influence wild bee communities, and she is currently investigating the influence of forest management on pollinator health in the Oregon coast range. Outside of work, Sara enjoys hiking with her dog and watching the Great British Baking Show.

Listen in to learn how forests are managed, how it affects pollinator habitat, and how bioassays gather essential insights into improving pollinator health.

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“We know so much about these mason bees and some of the other species that we manage that could work for these types of experiments, that it gives us the abilities to test all sorts of hypotheses.” – Dr. Sara Galbraith

Show Notes:

  • How forests are managed, and why that affects the bees we see
  • Why herbicides can affect bee habitats in very complex ways
  • How researchers learn the ways that habitats are affected by forest management
  • The methodological challenges of researching the changing bee habitats
  • What can be learned through using the bioassay in studying pollinators
  • Why forests are so important to the ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest
  • What is measured in a bioassay
  • How the myriad data collected through the bioassay can be used
  • The ways that natural disasters affect pollinator habitats in forests
  • What Sara and her team are currently working on
  • What wood lot owners can do to help their pollinator habitats thrive

”There are a lot of challenges in measuring the quality of habitat for bees, especially because they are such mobile organisms. So some of our biggest challenges are really methodological.” – Dr. Sara Galbraith

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Rich Hatfield on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Rich Hatfield is a senior conservation biologist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. He has authored several publications on bumble bees, including a set of management guidelines entitled Conserving Bumble Bees. He serves as the Red List Authority for the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Bumble Bee Specialist Group and has taught bumble bee management and identification courses in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Massachusetts. Rich helped develop and launch the citizen science website Bumble Bee Watch, which has attracted over 18,000 users throughout North America, and gathered over 30,000 photo observations of North American bumble bees since 2014. Bumble Bee Watch now serves as the platform to collect data for the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas for which he is the principal investigator. In addition to his work with bumble bees, Rich has investigated native bee pollination in agricultural systems in the Central Valley of California, and studied endangered butterflies in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and throughout the Pacific Northwest. When not at work, Rich is often off exploring the wonders of the Pacific Northwest with his family.

Listen in to today’s episode to learn how the PNW Bumble Bee Atlas is aiding in bee conservation, and how you can participate in pollinator habitat surveys.

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“I can tell you from the response that we’ve had that people are pretty excited. They’ve been having a really good time doing this. I love it, too, and it’s good to know that other people can join you on this.” – Rich Hatfield

Show Notes:

  • What the bumblebee atlas is, and what it is accomplishing
  • How the Xerces society developed their system of bumble bee collection
  • Why this bumble bee atlas can’t use other similar programs in their own study
  • The importance of having positive and negative data in these studies
  • What training people need to take to participate
  • What the process is of gathering specimen for bumble bee research
  • How a roadside survey is different than a point survey
  • What happens after the citizen scientists complete their survey
  • The benefits for many different groups of this kind of a project in this region
  • How you can get involved in helping the PNW Bumble Bee Atlas

“A lot of what we need to know is not what’s happening where people live, but what’s happening more in remote areas.” – Rich Hatfield

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Robert Coffin and Josh Loy on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

In past episodes, we have highlighted the important role golf courses play in pollinator health. In today’s episode, we talk about a fantastic success story here in Oregon. Earlier this month, Stewart Meadows Golf Course in Medford, Oregon became Oregon’s first golf course with certified Monarch Butterfly Waystations. This effort came about through a great partnership between the golf course and one of Oregon’s most active pollinator protection group, the Southern Oregon Monarchs Advocates. In this episode, we hear about how the partnership came about, how to create certified Monarch Waystations, and how Stewart Meadows integrated the waystations into their course.

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“We want to put in more of these monarch waystations and pollinator habitats. To me, that is a wonderful next step, not only for the golf course, but for all the monarchs and our entire community.” – Robert Coffin

Show Notes:

  • What a monarch waystation is and why it’s important
  • What got Robert and Josh started in working on them
  • How the waystations benefit both the butterflies and the golf courses where they reside
  • How weed pressure has been dealt with on the course
  • What other types of waystations exist outside of golf courses
  • What it means when a monarch waystation is certified
  • How you can get your own waystation certified
  • The importance of maintenance with waystations and pollinator habitats
  • How the plots of land were prepared before becoming a waystation
  • How waystations have become a way of educating the public on pollinators
  • Why the monarch population has gotten so low this year in particular

“Anything we can do to help kids experience what I and other kids my age did when we were [younger], if we can bring more of the monarch’s back, let’s do this.” – Josh Loy

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Sam Droege on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

This week, students with Oregon State University’s Bee School took a break in the OSU Pollinator Gardens on their last day of class (they were working on the Apidae) to ask questions of native bee biologist Sam Droege. Sam Droege is a biologist with the US Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, in Maryland. He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the BioBlitz, Cricket Crawl, and FrogwatchUSA programs and worked on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs. Currently, he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, and online identification guides for North American bees.

Listen in to learn more about how to plant a garden for pollinators using non-native plants, and the complexities of pollinator research in the field.

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“When I’m working with people, I tell them, ‘you’re only allowed to work on a specimen for five minutes. If you haven’t identified them in five minutes, put it down and do a different specimen.’ Because at that point your return is less and less for the amount of effort.” – Sam Droege

Show Notes:

  • Which non-native plants are best for home gardeners and pollinators
  • What non-native plants act as a “bird feeder for the crow and sparrow bees”
  • The pollinator species that Sam loves and dislikes the most
  • Sam’s strategies in species identification with large studies
  • Why Sam doesn’t bother identifying male pollinators most of the time
  • Why researching pollinators almost always involves some kind of lethal trapping technique
  • What Sam would like the general public to know about pollinators
  • The role that all people play to help the pollinator population
  • How to avoid causing problems in your community with your home pollinator habitat

“With non-native plants you can get a lot of bees coming to a number of different kinds of plants, but think of these plants as bird feeders for the crow and sparrow bees. So if you put a bird feeder in the middle of the city you get lots of birds but you are not getting flamingos, warblers and shearwaters, your getting crows, chickadees… the things that don’t need our help, but the things we love having around. ” – Sam Droege

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Drs. Margaret Couvillon and Roger Schürch on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

PolliNation was joined this week by Drs. Margaret Couvillon and Roger Schürch from Virginia Tech. As you will learn in this episode, the Couvillon Lab investigates the dynamics of how pollinators collect their food in the landscape, with a specific focus on honey bee foraging, recruitment, and health. Dr. Couvillon is in the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech. Dr. Schürch is a Research Assistant Professor studying the Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of Insects. Over the last few years he has become increasingly interested in the honey bee waggle dance both as a tool for foraging ecologists, as well as from a basic science perspective. Today they talk about their collaborative work on using honey bee dance behavior as a way to assess habitat quality for bees.

Listen to today’s episode to find out what we can learn from bee dances, and how home gardeners can make a difference creating their own pollinator habitat.

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“Let’s say you want to assess a large area for bee forage availability. If you are a traditional ecologist, you would walk transects and catalog the flowers you see, collect nectar and pollen samples to determine how much each flower is producing, and you have to account for competition. […] Even if you could do all that we calculated that it would take over 1,600 days to cover 90 km2. This is why we turned to the honey bee. The honey bee can do a lot of this hard work for us.” – Dr. Margaret Couvillon

Show Notes:

  • How to measure the efficacy of small pollinator habitats
  • Why the size of the habitat may not as big of a factor in pollinator population growth
  • Why a bee’s dance can point to their pollen sources
  • How researchers are able to use the bee’s dance to extrapolate useful data
  • How a bee’s dance moves dictate distance and direction of food
  • What we can learn from the inaccuracy of a bee’s dance
  • How Margaret and Roger are using this research to develop habitat restoration for pollinators
  • What one can answer with this research
  • What our guests will be focusing on in their upcoming research
  • The techniques Margaret and Roger use to create the most useable data in researching bee dances
  • What can be learned from studying the miscommunication of the bee dances

“If you put an observation hive in a landscape and observe the duration of the honey bee dances, which translate into foraging distance, you will be able to say [whether a habitat is good or bad for the bees] at a given time.” – Dr. Roger Schürch

Links Mentioned:

Travis Owen on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Travis Owen is a self-described nature enthusiast with a passion for pollination ecology and the role of pollinators in the environmental context of Southern Oregon. His passions have grown and evolve over time. In his twenties he was a DJ, then taught himself to build furniture, began to learn the ways of plants, then pollinators. All the while, he was teaching himself how to take pictures and write about what he sees on his fantastic website: the Amateur Anthecologist. His day job is as a commercial beekeeper for an established queen breeder.

Listen in to learn more about the science of anthecology, how you can develop resources for pollinators, and what makes the honeybee unique to other bees.

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“I was really excited to share what I saw. I feel really passionate about it, and I want other people to be passionate about it, too.” – Travis Owen

Show Notes:

  • How Travis got into anthecology
  • What drew Travis into beekeeping and bees in general
  • How honeybees are actually an outsider in comparison to most other bees
  • What bees are common in Southern Oregon
  • The common plant life that the bees of Southern Oregon thrive on
  • What gives large carpenter bees their claim to fame in the insect world
  • What an anthecologist is and what it entails
  • The differences between the amateur and professional anthecologist
  • The small amount of work it takes to help support the pollinator population
  • What is the biggest threat to the bee population

“I think there’s around 3,000-4,000 [different species of bees] in the country, and they’re all so different.” – Travis Owen

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Tom Landis on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Tom Landis has a PhD in Forest Ecology and has worked for 30 years as a nursery specialist for the USDA Forest Service. He now runs Native Plant Nursery Consulting and is a member of the Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates, where he provides educational and hands-on Milkweed and Monarch Workshops. The Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates are a dynamic group of people united in a common goal: to help the western monarch butterfly focusing on public outreach, creating habitat by establishing Monarch Waystations, planting native milkweed and nectar species, and raising monarchs.

Listen in to learn more about the Monarch butterfly, what Monarch waystations are and why they exist, and their unique system of migration.

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“The adult butterfly weighs half as much as a paperclip, yet they fly 40 miles a day and up to 700 miles [to their destination].“ – Tom Landis

Show Notes:

  • Where the migratory Monarch butterflies live in Oregon
  • The unique migratory process of the Monarch butterfly
  • What fuels the super generation’s long migration
  • Why Monarchs need a certain kind of tree canopy to survive
  • What are Monarch waystations and who came up with the idea
  • What Monarch waystations contain for Monarch butterflies
  • How Tom is helping spread Monarch waystations throughout southern Oregon
  • What it means when you see a whole cluster of butterflies in one spot
  • How you can make your own Monarch waystation

“That’s what’s so amazing about monarchs; you think of that fourth generation, they’re flying back to where their great-great-grandparents came from, and they’ve never been there.“ – Tom Landis

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Al Shay on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Al Shay is currently an instructor in the Horticulture Department at Oregon State University. Al holds undergraduate degrees in art as well as horticulture. Additionally Al has a Masters in Agriculture degree from OSU. Al has been in the “Green Industry” for 38 years; 27 of which were spent in the field managing landscapes at such varied venues as; Oregon State University, Eugene Country Club, The Oregon Garden and DeSantis landscapes. In 2007 Al returned to OSU for his graduate degree and was appointed an instructor upon his graduation in 2010.

Find out more about what you can do for pollinators at your own home, and how Al blends aesthetic and functional aspects of landscaping and pollinator habitats.

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“It seemed just a horrible shame to have 500-odd acres of space here on campus and have it all strictly geared toward something you look at as you pass by. We could do a better job than that.“ – Al Shay

Show Notes:

  • How Al’s career led him to his work at Oregon State University
  • The difficulties of bridging the functional and aesthetic sides of urban landscapes
  • The way Al keeps flowering plants year round
  • How homeowners can turn their property into a more sustainable ecosystem
  • Why Al recommends you should start small with your own landscape
  • What you should consider before working on your own urban landscape
  • Al’s best practices for how to plant your seeds
  • What makes a good saw and shear for Al
  • Al’s “pollinator hotels” and how they were developed

“Just start small. Instead of doing 43,560 square feet, do 200 or 400 square feet, and really take a peek at what is going on.“ – Al Shay

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