The cold winter months make me bee-sick, meaning I miss all the buzz in my yard. It gives me time to reflect on what this year brought, and what I hope the next year will bring. So, with that said, let’s journey through 2017 for The Bees Waggle, and tie it in a bow of 2018 buzz-worthy goals.
2017 was the second year I was given the honor of teaching elementary students about wild bees. In 2016 I taught at one school, and 2017 brought 7 schools! That was an incredible increase, and all organic. I watched children transform their views of bees from, “I don’t like bees, and I’ll never like bees, because they sting” to “I love bees because they help me get food.” This transformation came through education, and I feel so much gratification for what I do when I am privileged with witnessing that change.
We revamped our solitary bee house design in 2017, and boy did it do well! Every time we stock more on Amazon, they sell out! So, thank you all for supporting our business, and supporting the solitary bees in your own yards. You are not only feeding your own desire to watch these cute little insects, but in hosting a house in your yard, you are spreading awareness, because I am sure people ask what your little house is.
An initiative I am very proud to have finally done, is to partner with OneTreePlanted. Every house we sell plants a tree, because we donate $1 to OneTreePlanted for every bee house sold. I felt compelled to increase our green footprint, and this is one way we are currently doing just that. At the end of every month we will donate more to our reforestation fund, and this feels so GOOD!
Locally, we continued to be involved with the Colorado Pollinator Network,
and was part of the team that made the first annual Colorado Pollinator Month come to life! We had events for pollinators happening all over the Front Range of Colorado, and it is my hope that we will increase that reach to include more of the state. I am so very proud of Colorado, because people are joining forces to make positive impacts on our environment, and the pollinator front is very strong.
We also played a key role in supporting and organizing the 2nd Annual Colorado Pollinator Summit in November. This year’s summit afforded another collaboration with a LIMB, a Monarch conservation initiative in Loveland, Colorado. I am helping them to develop curriculum for middle schools to include in their classrooms, that will encourage development of more Milkweed gardens across Colorado.
Another very exciting project, we have been working on with Phil Cuka, is developing Solitary Bee Hotels in various locations in Denver, the first of which was in Waterton Canyon. We have the opportunity to develop one at Chatfield Botanic Gardens, and another in Evergreen. This is fantastic because it makes a statement, and offers an educational opportunity to the general public. I’ve included some pictures of the Waterton Canyon project below. Since its placement in July, many holes have been filled by a wide variety of solitary nesters, including leaf cutter bees, resin bees, and grass carrying solitary wasps.
I could go on and on about all the good stuff we have been up to, but I think we should move into 2018.
The Bees Waggle is developing a new solitary bee house, which should be launched late spring. I will share the launch date when it is ready.
We are thinking our way through developing some citizen science projects using our solitary bee houses, and the details of this will be available late spring as well. We are hoping to partner with some local organizations and scientists to showcase the efforts that are benefiting these tunnel nesting bees. This will be a huge undertaking, but well worth it, as it will generate even more education and awareness for wild bees.
Of course, we will continue to be involved with the Colorado Pollinator Network, and will be working diligently on the 2nd Annual Colorado Pollinator Month, which will take place in June, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events!
Finally, we hope to see our audience grow in 2018, and you can help with this by inviting your friends and family to visit our blog, facebook page, twitter feed, and instagram to learn more about wild bees.
We are so very grateful for all of you! Thank you for your continued support; we couldn’t do it without you! We wish you the happiest of holidays, and a prosperous New Year.