Lynda Boyer on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Lynda Boyer was hired in 2001 by Heritage Seedlings to facilitate restoration of native habitats on nursery properties and manage a native seed production program. Heritage Seedlings now grows over 120 species of native Willamette Valley wildflowers, grasses, and sedges on 35 acres for commercial seed that is used on restoration sites in the Willamette Valley. In addition, Lynda manages the restoration and maintenance of over 300 acres of oak, prairie, and riparian habitat on Heritage properties.

Listen in to learn how Heritage Seedlings aids in restoration sites and pollinator health as a Flagship Farm, and the best native plants for your garden.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“We have around 560 native prairie plant species, and the majority of them also have pollinator species that utilize both for flowering resources and for cover.” – Lynda Boyer

Show Notes:

  • The diversity and abundance of native plant communities around Oregon
  • How Heritage Farms and other seed growers found plant material to start their productions
  • Why retailers and others often don’t bother with developing the array of seedlings that seed growers do
  • Where Lynda believes Heritage Seedlings success comes from and why
  • How Lynda has dealt with pests and potential problems with her productions
  • Lynda’s advice on which native plants to use for your garden and how to maintain them
  • How to establish a meadow on your land
  • How to get past the complexities of seeding rate for your seedlings

“It’s all education, and even to this day I’m learning what type of habitat works best for all these different diversity of insects.” – Lynda Boyer

Links Mentioned:

Emily Erickson on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Emily is a PhD student in entomology at Pennsylvania State University. Her work focuses on the plant-pollinator interactions, with a focus to supporting pollinators and biodiversity in urban environments. Emily did her undergraduate work at UC Davis where she studied International Agricultural Development and minored in Entomology, which honed her interest in how humans interact with the natural world and set her on the path to studying bees and their role in man-made environments. In today’s episode she talks about the role of garden plants in bee conservation and dives deep into how plant breeding may be changing the attractiveness of garden plants to bees.

Emily Erickson talks about the role of garden plants in bee conservation and how plant breeding may be changing the attractiveness of garden plants to bees.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“Studying ornamental plants allows me to isolate floral traits in the context of the whole flower. So I can keep everything else consistent and then ask, ‘what if the flower was red instead of orange? Does that matter?’.” – Emily Erickson

Show Notes:

  • The issues Emily found in building pollinator friendly gardens, and how she is hoping to solve it
  • What makes studying ornamental plant varieties so unique and interesting
  • How these ornamental garden plants affect the population of pollinator visitors
  • What makes a plant pollinator friendly
  • How Emily and her team have been studying these effects
  • How a different cultivar can make a difference in pollinator populations
  • Why this research is unique among other studies of it’s kind
  • What other research Emily is doing on this subject

“There is no one flower to rule them all. That is the really cool thing about plant pollinator communities, but also it’s not what people want to hear.” – Emily Erickson

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.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“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.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“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:

Dr. Bob Peterson on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Alfalfa leafcutting bees (Megachilie rotandata) don’t make the headlines like honey bees do, but they are pretty important to agricultural production. These bees pollinate alfalfa plants to make the seed that gets planted out across hay fields across the US and beyond. This week we learn about the peculiar management system associated with leafcutting bees. Our guide is Dr. Bob Peterson, who is Professor of Entomology at Montana State University, where he leads the research, teaching, and outreach program in Agricultural and Biological Risk Assessment. Dr. Peterson also shares insights from his work around alfalfa leafcutting bee management and vector control.

Dr. Peterson has authored or co-authored 110 peer-reviewed journal articles, 14 book chapters, and one book. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including environmental risk assessment, insect ecology, and various special-topics graduate courses. In 2019, he will become president of the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government.

Listen in to today’s episode to learn about the uniqueness of leafcutting bees, how they’re managed, and how to keep your bees safe in using pesticides.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“The goal here is that we manage populations using the best science to have the minimal impact on the environment. That’s the ultimate goal.” – Dr. Bob Peterson

Show Notes:

  • How alfalfa leafcutting bees are managed
  • The life history of the alfalfa leafcutting bee
  • Why honey bees are not good pollinators for the alfalfa crop
  • The technology used to manage alfalfa leafcutting bees
  • What conflicts arise between mosquito control and managing leafcutting bees
  • Why understanding the difference between toxicity and risk is so crucial in using pesticides
  • What techniques leafcutting bee operators can use to minimize collateral damage of pesticides
  • Why honeybees are more sensitive to pesticides, despite being larger than leafcutting bees
  • The alternatives to pesticide in combating mosquitoes
  • Bob’s advice for those managing leafcutting bees on minimizing their exposure to pesticides

“When you look at an alfalfa field, if it has what looks like little metal or wooden sheds in the field, that’s where hundreds and hundreds of thousands of leafcutting bees are doing their jobs.” – Dr. Bob Peterson

Links Mentioned:

Dr. Chris Marshall on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Dr. Chris Marshall is the curator of the Oregon State Arthropod Collection (OSAC) located at Oregon State University. In this episode, Dr. Marshall discusses the value of museum collections in being able to piece together patterns of bee biodiversity across space and time (OSAC’s collection was started around 1860). Dr. Marshall also talks about a newly funded initiative (through the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s Pollinator Health Fund) to develop interactive museum tools to help people in the Pacific Northwest better understand the native bee fauna here. Before assuming the curatorship of OSAC, Dr. Marshall was at Cornell University (where he did his PhD), the Smithsonian and the Field Museum in Chicago.

Listen in to learn the role of a museum in biodiversity and pollinator research, how citizen scientists can help, and OSU’s new grant-funded bee project.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“[The Pollinator Health Fund grant] allows us to do two foundational things. First it will allow us to make the historical records of native bees in our collection available to be part of an Atlas, that is both graphical – essentially a road map you can view online – but also the map would be interactive so that the data underlying that point on the map are accessible allowing a person to examine, critically, the basis for the points on the distributional map for themselves. But also, as museums, we see ourselves contributing to the task of building the collection over time. So we see the project as being interactive not just for the user of the data, but also to researchers who want to add to that Atlas for future researchers use“. – Dr. Chris Marshall

Show Notes:

  • What role museums play in understanding pollinator diversity
  • How field research on biodiversity only gives a small sample of a species’s timeline
  • What is a plant host record and how it is used
  • How museum collection of specimens have evolved over time
  • Why the ability to extract DNA from older specimens used to prove so difficult, and is now much easier
  • What the important elements of a properly curated pollinator specimen are
  • Chris’s advice for people starting their first collection
  • What citizen scientists and hobbyists provide by collecting and properly curating specimens
  • Why creating a regional bee atlas will be so helpful to understanding of bee biodiversity
  • The checklist of regional bees Chris is developing and what it will be used for

“Natural history museum specimens provide the ability to sample past ecosystems in a way that you might not have thought of before.“ – Dr. Chris Marshall

Links Mentioned:

Bee Buddies on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

This week we are joined by Heath Keirstead and Jerry Paul from the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (BSWCD). Heath is BSWCD’s Communication and Community Engagement Manager and Jerry has been involved with BSWCD as a volunteer and Board Member. PolliNation caught up with Heath and Jerry at the BSWCD office to talk about caring for orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria) in the spring and their outreach initiative – the Bee Buddies program – that is encouraging stewardship of people cultivating these bees.

Listen in to learn how best to take care of your mason bees, when to place them outside, and how the Bee Buddy program helps the pollinator community.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“If any of you have the chance, take a mason bee or any pollinator, look at it under the microscope and I think it’s going to open up a whole new world to you.” – Jerry Paul

Show Notes:

  • When is the best time to put out mason bees
  • Why mud preparation is the best thing you can do for your mason bees
  • How to tell if your flowers are ready to be pollinated
  • How to protect the larval mason bees during transport
  • Why the location of the nest box is so important to the mason bee’s success
  • Which plants are the most beneficial to the mason bee
  • Why the Bee Buddies program was started, and what it’s goals were
  • How caring correctly for mason bees can give them a 90% survival rate
  • How the Bee Buddies program is bringing attention to larger environmental issues
  • What the outreach of Bee Buddies looks like
  • How to get involved with Bee Buddies
  • What other organizations are contributing to environmental conservation

“With a mason bee, you can target your crop. They only fly up to about 300 feet from their nest box.“ – Heath Keirstead

Links Mentioned:

The Research Retinue is a new segment on PolliNation that goes into depth on research papers that have been recently featured in the news. The Retinue is made up of intrepid OSU undergraduates and this week involved Addison DeBoer (Biology), Lacy Haig (Zoology), Umayyah Wright (Environmental Science), Isabella Messer (Horticulture). They take up the question of the conservation implications of honey bees by examining two papers published in top research journals last month that take up this question from different angles.

Listen in to learn more about how honey bees affect global regions, which pollinators are the most effective, and how studies could improve their research.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“Even if [honey bees] could [do the job of all the other pollinators combined], would we want them to? Because then we’d be missing out on all of the ecological variation of the other species.“ – Umayyah Wright

Show Notes:

  • How the honey bee contributes to pollination of wild plant communities worldwide
  • Why honey bee contributions to wild plant pollination can change due to many different environmental factors
  • How effective a pollinator the honey bee is in comparison to other bees
  • Why a pollinator’s native region is so important in it’s local ecosystem
  • Why simply pollinating plants is not the entire goal of pollinator protection
  • What is the most important trait of pollinators for conservation
  • Why these studies were useful, and what they need to improve
  • What the Research Retinue would like to see in the future for pollinator studies
  • Are their risks associated with beekeeping in sensitive areas
  • How different programs are taking steps to help home gardeners benefit the pollinator population
  • What home gardeners can do to help local pollinators flourish

“In the fight for bee conservation, we shouldn’t be focusing on honey bees because that’s an agricultural and economic issue, not a conservation issue.” – Isabella Messer

Links Mentioned:

Jeff Reardon on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Representative Jeff Reardon has served the East Portland District of Happy Valley (District 48) in the Oregon Legislature since January 2013. Shortly after coming to office there was a tragic pesticide poisoning of bumble bees in a suburban big-box parking lot in Portland. Although he had been thinking about pollinator health before his election, he quickly found himself at the lead of an initiative to strike a Pollinator Health Task Force and then a comprehensive House Bill around pollinator health. House Bill 3362 is without equal in the United States and has not only tasked the Oregon State University Extension Service and state agencies to work on pollinator health, but has also committed resources towards carrying out this work. Representative Reardon was born and raised in the blue-collar town of Kelso, Washington and is a Vietnam Era Veteran (having served on a nuclear submarine in the Western Pacific). He had a busy career before entering politics, not only as a high school teacher but also as a communications manager with Tektronix.

Listen in as we talk about Reardon’s landmark bill, what it has done for pollinators, and how he involved the bee-keeping community.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“[The Oregon Pollinator Health Bill] is one of my favorite projects, ever.“ – Jeff Reardon

Show Notes:

  • How Reardon’s landmark bill got started
  • How the bill evolved from initial intention
  • Who the key players were in passing the legislation
  • What is in the bill, and who it was for
  • How communication with beekeepers has helped revise the law for the better
  • Why Jeff is so passionate about the project

“We’re really concerned about how to inform the backyard gardener about pesticides and pollinators. If the trained license applicators are having this much trouble, then what do we do for the backyard gardeners?“ – Jeff Reardon

Links Mentioned:

Alison Center on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Alison Center has worked as a wildlife biologist for the Bureau of Land Management and U. S. Forest Service and volunteers on the Coast Fork Willamette watershed council’s technical team. She is presently working as the editorial assistant for BioProcess International magazine and is the president of the Oregon chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) based in Eugene. Last year she enjoyed surveying for butterflies, bumblebees, pond turtles, and birds.

NABA formed in 1992 and is the largest group of people in North America interested in butterflies. NABA has active programs in butterfly conservation, monitoring and gardening, and owns and operates the National Butterfly Center, a 100-acre conservation, education and research center in Mission, Texas.

Listen in as we talk about butterflies, their fascinating relationship with Oregon landscapes, and how you can plant your garden to attract more butterflies.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“The first step is to be curious about butterflies and start noticing them, and then where does your interest lie? Would you like to know more about their natural history? Do you want more of them in your yard? Or are you a birder who wants something new?“ – Alison Center 

Show Notes:

  • The first steps people take in learning about butterflies
  • Where gardening for butterflies and bees overlap
  • Why local identification guides are extremely helpful in learning about your garden’s bugs
  • How NABA helps out new and experienced butterfly enthusiasts
  • How NABA does their “Fourth-of-July Butterfly Count”
  • The differences and similarities between moths and butterflies
  • How butterflies deter predators
  • What makes the relationship between butterflies and plants unique
  • How different moths and butterflies prepare their chrysalis and cocoons
  • How butterflies prepare for winter
  • The migration patterns of various butterflies
  • What plants Alison recommends for good butterfly and pollinator habitats
  • Alison’s favorite books about butterflies, tools, and pollinator

“The North American Butterfly Association has extensive butterfly monitoring programs, so where Audubon has the Christmas Bird Count, NABA has the Fourth of July Count. In Oregon the Eugene group sponsors two counts, but there are a number of other counts that take place elsewhere in the state.“ – Alison Center

Links Mentioned: