Helping Bees Help the World
by Benjamin McCullough – Cedar Haven Manager
I’m sure you’ve heard that bees help pollinate 30% of all our fruits and vegetables.
You’ve probably heard about Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees.
Maybe you’ve heard that there a number of declining native bee species that need our help.
What you probably haven’t yet heard is… A Rocha Ontario is joining the rescue mission!
In partnership with Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC), Cedar Haven Eco-Centre is now a surveying site for bumblebees – but we can’t do it alone! In preparation for this project, myself and Cedar Haven conservation team attended a bumblebee survey training workshop hosted by WPC. The purpose of this workshop was not only to learn the basics of bee ID and survey training but also how to engage and train volunteers and passionate community members. Might this be you?
No conservation organization can run solely off of its own energy. We need help from people like you. I first arrived at A Rocha with no science background and so assumed that conservation work was out of my reach. Boy, was I wrong! The majority of conservation work is accessible to everyone and bumblebee surveying is no different. Only one thing is required to participate in a bumblebee survey. A desire to change the world for the better. That’s it.
After the workshop with WPC, I drove north to the Muskokas for the long weekend. As I was sitting beside the lake, an insect landed on my arm for a second before buzzing away. Immediately, my mind asked, “was that a fly, a wasp, or a bee?” (A distinction, I have learned, that is not so obvious.) “Maybe it’s a sweat bee, stopping by for a drink.” (A common bee species that drinks the tears and sweat of mammals!) My ID skills were not perfected in a four-hour workshop, but my attentiveness to the the small things around me and my eagerness to learn their names grew. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way, and in a short time, my perspective on the world was broadened and was made more colourful.
I’m sure you’ve heard the metaphor: a butterfly flaps its wings and causes a tornado somewhere down the road. The same concept goes for the consequence of bee decline. Although they are small in size, bees pack a big punch when it comes to their effect on the environment. Bees are so intertwined with the patterns and functions of their ecological system. This is to say that the health of native bumblebee populations has a domino effect on the rest of creation and the decline of native bees means trouble for the ecosystem they serve. Still, all hope is not lost. Thanks to passionate people who care for their place, who know the joys of generosity, and who are eager to leave the world better than the way they found it—because of you—our bumblebees have a fighting chance.
We hope you are as excited as we are to participate in this Canada-wide initiative with WPC and work towards world-wide awareness, respect and care for bees.