SDNB Meeting Notes.
This is the Sonoran Desert Native Bees archive for meeting notes. Everything that is discussed in the meeting are noted and posted below.
Attendees: Kayla Clark; Connie Thomas; Mary Krueger; Elane Headley; Tom McDonald; Maddie Ostwald; Zack Shaffer; Anne Ellis
Guests: Chuck Brush; Jeanne Anne Brush; Emma Quinlan
The meeting opened with introductions and a presentation by guest speaker Emma Quinlan.
Emma is a senior Girl Scout, and her Gold Award (similar to the Eagle Scout award) is all about making seed balls (which she calls “Bee Bombs”) to support and encourage wildflower and herb growth. This in turn supports pollinators, especially bees – and they need the help.
Emma plans to continue with this project with a website and other activities after she earns the award because she feels it is so important. To our delight, Emma also joined our working group.
Our rack cards were delivered last week, and they are absolutely beautiful. Graphic designer Mariah did an outstanding job putting this together, and Ray’s printing did the printing on glossy card stock. We also unveiled five “road show” posters. One is a large format, framed print from “Bees in Your Backyard,” and the others are annotated pictures to help differentiate native bees from honey bees, flies, and wasps. All will make terrific additions to our presentations.
There is also a large format poster planned that will outline our purpose and goals, so these will be visible during any presentations or booth events. Maddie and Anne are working on the language for this, and we’ll ask Mariah to format it and do the graphic design.
The logos that Mariah designed were shared with the group, and will now be used for all correspondence, web pages, posters, and so on. The new logo is at the top of these meeting notes, and it looks fabulous. Thanks, Mariah!!
Next we discussed our iNaturalist project(s) for use by our citizen science participants. Anne has been working on developing two projects to help with both bee and habitat identification, and these are ready for deployment. We will continue to “fine tune” these projects as we better understand what is needed to get exactly the data we are seeking, i.e., plants specifically used by bees as well as photos of the bees themselves.
Maddie outlined the training materials and the citizen science protocol, instructions and data forms. These are posted on a Google Forms site that will be linked to our web page under “Citizen Science.” The link to our web page is on the rack card and will be on all handouts and correspondence so that people can easily find it.
One piece of the citizen science is the question of whether native bees use or need water. Discussion questions about this topic included (1) can you place an irrigation emitter into the bee bath to maintain its water level (yes), and (2) does it matter what kind of water is used in the bee bath (RO, bottled, CAP tap water, “hard” well water, etc.). Maddie will give this second question some thought as she completes the instructions for this project.
Because we have so many different electronic platforms in use, Zack offered to recruit undergraduate students to help with some of the maintenance tasks.
Ideally we’ll find a few students who are IT-savvy as well as being interested in environmental issues.
There was some discussion around making bee blocks or “hotels” as we’d like to offer this as an activity. Because we want to disseminate only valid, scientifically robust information, we need to do a little more research on the best specifications for bee hotels. The target for this activity is fall 2019.
Anne discussed some opportunities with the Desert Botanical Garden, and will continue to work with Angelica Elliott to develop a program that meets their needs.
To be included in the LEARN catalog, we’ll have to submit a proposal with the class/workshop outline, number of students, and approximate costs. There is also a possibility of our participating in some public outreach events and family days at DBG, as well as the “Flutterfest” pollinator event.
We also discussed the idea of incorporating as a non-profit, with an eye toward 501(c)3 status. Emma’s mother and Kayla are both attorneys and can help with reviewing the application before it is submitted.
Tom discussed the background and method for seed balls, which we will be presenting at the Boyce Thompson Family Day on February 23. Anne will contact Lacey at BTA to confirm the supplies we requested can be provided.
The seed ball recipe varies depending on the clay, but the basic components are 1 part seeds, 3 parts compost and 8 parts clay. Wildflower seeds specific to the Sonoran Desert are difficult to procure and are therefore the limiting factor. We will hold a demo for our volunteers on February 7, 8:00 am, at Smiling Dog Ranch/Learning Center.