All abuzz about bees at College of Calgary ‘Bee Campus’ | Information


When learning science on the College of Calgary, it’s a mark of distinction to get a “bee” — the extra bees, the higher.

UCalgary is a delegated Bee Campus, the place college students, school and employees analysis and promote pollinator, invertebrate and plant biodiversity on campus and within the broader group.

“We formally turned a Bee Campus in early 2020,” says Dr. Mindi Summers, PhD, a senior teacher in ecology and evolutionary biology within the Division of Organic Sciences within the College of Science.

The designation was awarded by Bee Metropolis Canada, a charitable group whose mission is to encourage cities, cities, First Nations, faculties, companies and different organizations to take actions to guard bees and different pollinators.

UCalgary’s Bee Campus actions are led by a collaboration between the Division of Organic Sciences and the Workplace of Sustainability, and includes researchers on the Schulich Faculty of Engineering and specialists on the Taylor Household Digital Library, Summers says.

Bee Campus encompasses analysis by school in Organic Sciences to know bees and different helpful bugs and promote conservation and safety of pollinators’ habitat on city and agricultural landscapes — together with planting bee-supporting native crops on campus.

A key exercise is producing a digital reference assortment of photographs of the native bees of Alberta, together with different invertebrates. “There are over 330 completely different species of native bees simply in Alberta alone,” Summers says.

Kirstin Young with net

Kirstin Younger

Experiential studying a key a part of Bee Campus

An important side of UCalgary’s Bee Campus is offering undergraduate college students with alternatives to do hands-on, real-world analysis on bees and different pollinators and bugs.

Whereas many college students have confronted pc screens over the past two years, college students who took Summers’s Zoology 435 course in entomology had been out in backyards, Calgary parks and the Rocky Mountains searching for something with six legs and wings.

The scholars collected and curated their very own insect assortment in Calgary and the encompassing areas, to catalogue biodiversity for The Metropolis of Calgary. In addition they contributed greater than 3,300 insect observations to a web-based world repository and group, known as iNaturalist, for figuring out species.

The actions shaped a part of a course-based undergraduate analysis expertise (CURE), one in all two pilot CURE programs supported by the Faculty of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation, an arm of the Taylor Institute for Educating and Studying.

The CURE initiative expands undergraduate analysis alternatives by integrating hands-on experiential studying into present programs.

To encourage creativity and provides college students extra selection in how one can advance their analysis, Summers invited her college students to provide a collection of science communications items on why folks ought to care about insect biodiversity.

“CURE college students have taken initiative with their analysis and gained confidence of their skills to work independently,” Summers says.

Kirstin Younger says like many individuals, she didn’t actually get pleasure from bugs when she took Summers’s zoology course.

“Having a learner-centred course with freedom within the presentation of supplies allowed me to discover a ardour in a subject that many individuals wouldn’t assume to look, and to take this ardour and share it with others,” she says.

As a Lady Guides chief, she used what she realized to create a lesson plan for Lady Guides. “I had women of all ages asking questions and studying about bugs they’d beforehand thought of ‘gross and scary,’” says Younger, who graduated final 12 months with a BSc in Organic Sciences and a serious in zoology.

Bee on orange flower

Participating with the group

One other UCalgary Bee Campus-led exercise is the Calgary Pollinator Rely Neighborhood Science Undertaking, launched final summer season by Summers and a few her college students.

Pollinators assist to provide one-fifth to one-third of the meals on our plates, Summers notes. Native bees and different pollinators are important for pollinating native crops, together with flowering crops in parks and gardens.

Scientists know some crops assist a higher range of pollinators and a few pollinators require particular crops, however not about these facets in Calgary, Summers says.

“One of many essential the reason why we’re doing the Calgary Pollinator Rely now’s we don’t have the baseline knowledge for Calgary to really have the ability to reply some essential questions,” she provides.

In the course of the annual Pollinator Week celebration (June 20 to 26 this 12 months), all Calgary residents and citizen scientists are invited to take part within the Calgary Pollinator Rely by taking photographs of bees and different pollinators in again yards, gardens, parks and pure areas.


Michaela Seal, a former scholar of Summers concerned within the Calgary Pollinator Rely, says: “I might encourage anybody to take part, because it’s a significant approach of serving to enhance our understanding of pollinators and take pleasure within the biodiversity our metropolis hosts.” Seal graduated final 12 months with a BSc in Organic Sciences and a serious in zoology.

Together with native bees, butterflies and moths, often-overlooked essential pollinators embrace flies and wasps, together with bugs that cease on flowers and “unintentionally” carry out pollination, equivalent to true bugs, beetles, dragonflies and grasshoppers.

To unfold the phrase about all of the insect pollinators essential to biodiversity, the Division of Organic Sciences has partnered with UCalgary’s drama program and Wagonstage Theatre.

Wagonstage goes to local people parks and associations all through the summer season and presents a play for youngsters and their households.

This summer season’s play, titled Bee Betrayal, is about pollinators, together with “wanna-bees” — bugs that mimic the sample and color of bees, equivalent to flower flies or hover flies.

With College of Calgary Giving Day till April 21, donors’ items “will allow assist for all of those completely different Bee Campus actions, with an actual deal with funding undergraduate scholar analysis and outreach alternatives,” Summers says.


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