Nets, coolers and courage: A day in the life of a volunteer bee conservationist

A volunteer conservation biologist provides an insight into the life of a bee conservationist, focusing on bee surveys in California.

Walkthrough: Biologist Leif Richardson carries out surveys for the California Bumble Bee Atlas.
* Richardson’s work focuses on native bees, like Crotch’s Bumble Bee, protected by state law.
* The Atlas aims to gather data on where wild bees live and which species are in trouble, informing conservation and management decisions.

Process Explained: The activity starts at a mountain trail in Leo Carrillo State Park, includes using nets, vials, and a cooler for bee-catching, before carrying the caught bees for further study.
* The journey includes potential hazards like poison oak and rattlesnakes.
* The conservationists catch both male and queen bees, with techniques specifically designed to avoid a sting.

The bigger picture: The California Bumble Bee Atlas is part of a larger continent-wide survey across more than 250 parts of California.
* According to the Xerces Society, about a quarter of North America’s 50 bumble bee species are at risk.
* These surveys are crucial for the conservation of these vital pollinators of wild plants and crops.

Conclusion: Despite the hazards and painstaking work, the conservationists’ efforts contribute significantly to the maintenance of healthy ecosystems and the human food supply.

View original article on NPR

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