What is in this article?:
- UC Davis haven shows amazing life of honey bees
- Signage project
- The honey bee garden at UC Davis, is not only bee friendly, it’s people friendly, thanks to a major volunteer effort by a visiting biologist from Boston.
Huber launched the signage project after consulting with Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis; Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty; bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of UC Davis and Washington State University; native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, who monitors the garden for bee diversity; staff research associate-beekeeper and haven coordinator Elizabeth Frost of the Laidlaw facility; and communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Garvey, also a photographer, provided the images for the signs, which include a feral honey bee colony, activities inside and outside the hive, and pollinator “portraits,” including such floral visitors as honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, digger bees and butterflies.
“I am so glad that Tabatha gave me the project of designing a self-guided tour for the bee garden,” said Huber. “Using the signs seemed the most environmental and easy way to do this. I learned a lot about bees while researching what to put on each sign, as well as many cool tidbits of useful information, like how to build a nest site for native bees, and that it is best not to eat bananas when approaching a hive, just to name a couple.”
“Sarah is a fabulous educator,” Yang said. “We were incredibly fortunate to have her on our team. She is creative and fun and radiates enthusiasm for science education. It was an absolute pleasure to work with her.”
Huber also assisted with other outreach projects on the UC Davis campus, providing support for the Department of Entomology, the Bohart Museum of Entomology, and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology (MWFB). In addition, she volunteered at the Explorit Science Center, Davis.
Huber joined the UC Davis volunteer workforce for a year while her husband, Parke Wilde, an associate professor at Tufts University, Boston, pursued academic work at UC Davis.
A former Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia and El Salvador, Huber received her bachelor of science degree, cum laude, in biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and master’s degree in secondary science education from Catholic University, Washington, D.C. Huber's credentials include teaching interactive workshops for elementary-aged children and facilitating drop-in science, math and technology activities at the Museum of Science in Boston.
The garden is the work of scores of companies, people and volunteers. A four-member team from Sausalito won the international design competition: landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker; interpretative planner Jessica Brainard; and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki.
“This garden is a living laboratory to educate, inspire and engage people of all ages in the serious work of helping to save honey bees,” Dori Bailey, former director of Haagen-Dazs Consumer Communications, said earlier this year. It offers bees and other pollinators “a place to thrive,” Bailey said, and “it contributes to finding answers that enable us to be better stewards of these tiny pollinators.”
Melissa “Missy” Borel, program manager of the California Urban Horticulture at UC Davis and a key developer of the garden under the watch of Lynn Kimsey, then interim chair of the Department of Entomology, posted plant identification signs so visitors can select what they might want to plant in their own gardens. A volunteer team of gardeners, headed by Mary Patterson of Davis and coordinated by Frost, tend the garden every week.
The garden also features art from the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, co-founded and co-directed by UC Davis entomologist-artist Diane Ullman and Davis artist Donna Billick. “Miss Bee Haven,” a 6-foot long sculpture of a worker bee by Billick, anchors the art work. Painted bee boxes, showing activity inside and outside a honey bee colony, grace the entrance. The most recent addition to the garden is a native bee mural on a garden shed, a project coordinated by UC Davis graduate student Sarah Dalrymple.
Ullman, Billick and Dalrymple are now consulting with Frost and Thorp on other art projects that will showcase native bees, particularly leafcutting bees.