Update from Rose
The March newsletter is a bit late. I had a chance to write it last weekend and instead, I headed over to Oregon State University for the annual gathering of Master Melittologists and my first Melittologist Training. (Melittology is the scientific study of bees.)
Elderberry Wisdom Farm wants to restore native bees on our farm. We are going deeper into native bee biology and ecology and want to do our part to strengthen them within our ecosystem. We are aware of the declines in bee populations from colony collapse disorder, climate issues, and misuse of pesticides,
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and OSU’s Extension Service launched their Oregon Bee Project Strategic Plan 2* in 2022. The document states: “Oregon maintains a high level of bee diversity. Although the Pacific Northwest lacks a comprehensive list of bee species (like most states), scientists estimate that the number in the region exceeds 800, a tally rivaling the total number of species found across all the states east of the Mississippi. However, only a few of these bees, like managed honey bees and wild bumble bees, are familiar to most Oregonians. Many go unnoticed.” (*A Strategic Plan for Keeping Oregon’s Bee Pollinators Healthy 2022-2027)
Do we have time to do this Melittologist Training? No, but over the past two years, we grew 900 Native plants and planted them along our 350’ pollinator hedgerow. We hope to learn more about the process and also document their restoration in the coming years.
Through this training program, we will also have the opportunity to help OSU create Oregon’s first Bee Atlas. Native bee specimen collection means we have to stick a pin into those precious and sometimes rare little guys, but we are willing to try anyway. Hopefully we can excite our cohorts of interns to help search for them on our property and other natural areas around Marion County.
You can discover more about this training program at: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/master-melittologist