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

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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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Sarah Johnson is the lead biologist for Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Native Pollinator Initiative. WPC is a nation-wide organization focusing on hands-on recovery initiatives for critically endangered species, and the pollinator initiative supports Canadian bumble bee recovery through a diverse set of programs. As WPC’s lead pollinator biologist, Sarah has overseen a variety of citizen science training programs, runs multiple field-based research and monitoring projects, and leads the development of a captive breeding program for the at-risk yellow-banded bumble bee. Prior to her current position with WPC, Sarah received a BSc in Natural Sciences from the University of Calgary – during which she published on a project investigating how wing wear affects bumble bee’s weight lifting ability – as well as an MSc in Ecology, examining how clearcut logging impacts bee-pollinated wildflower reproduction in the foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Sarah was also involved in the initiation of a long-term research program exploring how the agricultural landscape in southern Alberta affects pollinator diversity. As evidenced through her work, Sarah’s passion lies in the furriest (and most charming) of the pollinators: the bumble bee. However, she is also interested in conservation education, public engagement, and answering broader questions on what factors shape ecological communities.

Listen in as we talk about the bee population of Canada, her new captive breeding project, and how citizen science positively impacts her research.

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“We’re seeing sightings in areas where we didn’t know species extended to, and this is because of submissions by citizen scientists.” – Sarah Johnson

Show Notes:

  • What is happening in the bumblebee populations of Canada
  • How the Bumblebee Recovery Initiative is helping pollinators
  • What their new captive breeding project is hoping to accomplish
  • What qualities Sarah is looking for in the queen bumblebees they are breeding
  • How Wildlife Preservation Canada uses citizen science
  • Why Bumblebee Watch is such an invaluable resource to conservation researchers
  • How one citizen scientist made a breakthrough discovery
  • How Sarah’s organization trains citizen scientists
  • What makes a good bumblebee picture for submission
  • What Sarah recommends to help raise public awareness of pollinators and their involvement

[Wilson et al.] surveyed a wide variety of people, and the vast majority of them think bees are important but nobody really knows what a bee is versus what a fly is.“ – Sarah Johnson

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Skyler Burrows on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Our guest today on PolliNation is Skyler Burrows, a taxonomist working with Utah State University, the USDA Bee Lab, and formerly with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Virginia Working Landscape program. Much of Skyler’s work has been based in the trapping and identification of pollinators with the help of citizen scientists, and monitoring their diversity in a given area. His most recent project has been to create an online guide to aid in the identification of bees that may be invasive to the US, that will include a non-dichotomous key to the Megachilidae genera of the world with high quality images to target an audience without background in taxonomy.

In today’s episode, we will learn about Skyler’s work with pollinators, his projects with citizen scientists, and how you can get started in taxonomy.

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“Things like ‘Bees In Your Backyard’ are really helpful, but until you have the bee in your hand, it’s really difficult to know what you’ve got.“ – Skyler Burrows

Show Notes:

  • What is the Virginia Working Landscape program and how they are contributing to pollinator research
  • How Skyler and his team trap bees
  • Why the team uses a type of antifreeze in their traps, and it’s advantages
  • How the citizen scientists stay involved after their collection
  • The various challenges Skyler has faced in his project
  • How the great diversity of bees in the West can create difficulties for citizen scientists
  • What new citizen scientists should do to get started in taxonomy
  • Why the microscope is Skyler’s favorite tool
  • Why there is still a lot of room for discovery in researching bees and pollinator habitats

“There’s a lot of washing involved, blow drying to fluff up their hairs; there’s a lot of interesting methods [to help in identification], but we’re all just trying to make the bees look nice and pretty.“ – Skyler Burrows

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Dr Dewey M Caron - PolliNation - Episode Art

Dr. Dewey M. Caron is Emeritus Professor of Entomology & Wildlife Ecology, Univ of Delaware, & Affiliate Professor, Dept Horticulture, Oregon State University. He spent 40+ years teaching, doing bee extension and bee research at Cornell (1967-70), University of MD, College Park (1970-1981) and University of DE, Newark DE (1981-2009).
Since retirement in 2009, he spends 4-6 months each year in Bolivia, where he keeps Africanized bees and teaches beekeeping (in Spanish). The rest of the year he is in the northern hemisphere; his 5 backyard colonies in Tigard OR are docile European bees. He moved from Newark to Portland, Oregon following retirement to be closer to 5 grandkids. He manages to return to East coast several times each year to give Bee Short Courses and lectures to various bee clubs and state organizations. He remains active in EAS. His first EAS meeting was 1967 at University of MD. He has served as President (1986), Director (both from MD and DE), Chairman of the Board for 8 years, Chair of several Board committees and currently is Advisor for EAS Master Beekeeper program. He was program and Short Course chair for 2016 New Jersey and Program Chair for 2017 Delaware, his 50th year in EAS.

Listen in to this episode to learn about how you can keep your colonies safe from varroa mites, and what tools you can use to prevent and manage them.

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“Whatever stage you have mites in your colonies, we have some tools, things that we can do that will then help blunt the advantage that the varroa mite seems to have with our European honeybee.” – Dr. Dewey M. Caron

Show Notes:

  • Why varroa management is such a problem for beekeepers
  • How the Mite-A-Thon helped Dewey in the fight against varroa mites
  • Why monitoring for varroa mites is important for beekeepers
  • The steps that beekeepers can take to manage and prevent varroa mites
  • How you can use the “Tools for Varroa Management” guide
  • What other tools are available through the coalition website
  • How the Honeybee Health Coalition began
  • Why the most hygenic bees are Dewey’s favorite

“It’s not if your colony has varroa mites, that’s not the question you should be asking. You should be asking how many mites does my colony have? ” – Dr. Dewey M. Caron

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Kristen Healy on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Kristen Healy is an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at Louisiana State University. She obtained her B.S. in Zoology and M.S. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Rhode Island, her Ph.D. in Entomology from Rutgers University, and a MPH in Environmental Health from UMDNJ. A key focus of her research at LSU has been collaborating with the USDA Honey Bee lab in Baton Rouge to evaluate how different stressors impact honey bee health. This has included evaluating the effects of mosquito control adulticides on honey bees. Most of her findings suggests that when done correctly and according to label instructions, there should be minimal impact to honey bees. Dr. Healy is now working with the USDA bee lab to evaluate the impact of other stressors, including mites and deformed wing virus, on honey bee health.

On this episode of PolliNation, Kristen and I will be talking about mosquito abatement techniques, their effect on pollinator health, and the research Kristen’s team has done to keep them safe.

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“They really wanted to know if what they were doing with mosquito control was killing bees, so they asked if we could help address that topic.” – Kristen Healy

Show Notes:

  • What is the importance of insecticides on mosquitoes
  • What methods are used in mosquito abatement
  • How mosquito abatement programs can mitigate damaging pollinators
  • The two main factors in an adulticide’s potential risk to pollinators
  • Why mosquito control is often performed at night
  • The team that Kristen and LSU assembled to study adulticides on the bee population
  • How Kristen was able to balance her team’s research with stakeholders
  • What results came from Kristen’s team’s study
  • How honeybees can be bred to better withstand pesticides
  • What Kristen sees in the future of mosquito abatement and pollinator health

“I think that the key thing [for the future of mosquito abatement and pollinator health] is both communication and education.” – Kristen Healy

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George Hansen on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

After a short six-year career as a public school teacher, George and his wife Susan transformed a hobby beekeeping operation into a commercial endeavor. The business started from a few swarms and a collection of retrieved nuisance hives, but now runs 5000 + colonies in three states. Sons Matt and Joe are incrementally taking control of the business, as George moves towards an as yet undefined retirement. Although the name of the company never changed, the focus of the beekeeping is now primarily pollination service, with honey, wax and bee sales making up no more than 30 percent of gross revenues. George is an active member of the beekeeping community, promoting the industry’s interests as past president of the American Beekeeping Federation. For a decade he served as a producer representative on the National Honey Board. He continues to serve as a trustee on the Foundation for the Preservation of the Honey Bee, and on the board of the Bee Informed Partnership. Currently George represents the industry on the national Honey Bee Health Coalition. For twenty years, he has hosted an annual Bee Day workshop and orientation at the Foothills Honey Company home site.

Listen to today’s episode to learn George’s experience as a land manager, good practice in cultivating pollinator habitats, and his work in the advocacy of pollinators.

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“We’re creating in many areas what are virtually pollinator deserts.“ – George Hansen

Show Notes:

  • How George got started in beekeeping
  • What George does to prepare a site for pollinators
  • The challenges land managers face with pollinator habitats
  • Why pollinator habitats have been diminishing among land managers
  • What George sees as a solution
  • How the Bees and Butterfly Habitat Fund has helped protect pollinators

“You can grow almost anything in the Willamette Valley if you have water, the question is whether this kind of forage plot would be worth watering.“ – George Hansen

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Linda Hardison is the leader of the Oregon Flora Project, based out of Oregon State University’s Herbarium. The Oregon Flora Project seeks to present scientifically sound information about the vascular plants of Oregon that grow without cultivation in formats that are useful to generalists as well as to scientists. With projects such as their interactive Oregon Plant Atlas, their smartphone app, and their upcoming book “A Flora of Oregon”, they are cultivating an invaluable resource for scientists and hobbyists throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Listen in to learn more about the Oregon Flora Project, the amazing benefits their research and data collection has on pollinators, and what’s in store for the future.

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“The Oregon Flora Project is striving to make information useful and relevant…to a broad sector of the population.“ – Linda Hardison

Show Notes:

  • The mission of the Oregon Flora Project
  • How the Oregon Flora Project benefits pollinators
  • What started the project
  • What benefits have been found in making the OFP database
  • How Linda’s team streamlined the dichotomous key identification process
  • How the Oregon Flora Project is taking advantage of new software and open-source platforms
  • The exciting possibilities for citizen scientists to contribute
  • What’s next for the Linda’s program
  • How gardeners will benefit from a new development of Oregon Flora Project
  • Why Linda’s favorite tool is a plastic bag

“A lot of people aren’t going to go to the effort and expense of making a plant specimen for a herbarium, so by having observations, the data sets are so much richer and so much more than if we had to rely only on specimens.“ – Linda Hardison

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Dr Jim Rivers on PolliNation

Dr. Jim Rivers is a vertebrate ecologist and leader of the Forest Animal Ecology Lab at Oregon State University. With broad research interests that are focused in the fields of animal behavior and physiological ecology, his research program combines observational, experimental, and comparative approaches to test predictions from theory in empirical settings. He recently lead the Pollinators in Managed Forests workshop, which brought together speakers from Oregon State, Washington State, Montana State and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address a variety of topics, including the influence of wildfire severity, salvage logging, herbicides and practical ways to augment blooms for native bees.

We’re talking today about how pollinator habitats and forests coexist and work with each other, the ways that bees thrive in forested areas, and how he and others in the field have begun researching the behavior of pollinators in forested areas.

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“I’ve been surprised we’ve had bee research at OSU for four or five decades now, but we haven’t had a lot of people looking in forests, and particularly in managed forests, and that’s where a lot of my research has been taking place.“ – Dr. Jim Rivers

Show Notes:

  • Why forests are an important place for pollinators
  • How surrounding landscapes could contribute to pollinator habitats
  • How Jim is possibly creating jet fuel in his forest research
  • What Jim samples to learn about forest bee populations
  • What the effect of herbicides on pollinators could be
  • Why Jim brought together stakeholders to talk about pollinators and managed forests
  • The social shift that has occurred in the importance of pollinators
  • Why Jim recommends getting a digital microscope

“There’s a lot more that we don’t know about bees in managed forests than what we do know.“ – Dr. Jim Rivers

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Erin Udal leads community pollinator conservation projects out of Vancouver, BC and was formerly the Program Manager and Pollinator Specialist with the Environmental Youth Alliance. With her background in conservation biology, she designs bee-friendly gardens and develops citizen science projects, working to help people protect pollinators in our backyards and parks. Erin finds facilitating hands-on outdoor education very rewarding, and always pleased to share the fascinating and diverse world of native bees with anyone who cares to learn.

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“Using the scientific process is one of our greatest tools, and in order to get people back to that trust, we have to give them opportunities and tools to engage with it.“ – Erin Udal

Show Notes:

  • Why Erin’s first couple years of data collection didn’t go so well
  • How Erin goes about preparing citizen scientists
  • The reason that there isn’t better communication between scientists and the public
  • The way that Erin hopes to move scientific literacy forward
  • Why Eric uses the bottom-up approach to leadership
  • The movement towards making science accessible to a broader audience
  • How an artist can bring science a different narrative
  • What Erin means by “Stewardship with a capital S”

“I think it was Carl Sagan that said, ’Science is not so much a body of information, but a way of thinking’, and so I want people to feel like they are part of that way of thinking.“ – Erin Udal

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