Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bumblebee Resource Links for High School Students and Teachers and You!

 The Great Canadian Bumblebee Count is a citizen science program you can participate in once the bees emerge in spring

A lovely video by Deep Look on PBS on buzz pollination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZrTndD1H10

British Bumblebee expert Dave Goulson’s amazing garden shed housing multiple bumblebee houses:

Clay Bolt’s website is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about native bees:

Check out this short film: A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee. http://www.rustypatched.com/

Another captivating short documentary: Searching for the Arctic Bumblebee
by the University of California, Riverside

Sam Droege’s amazing macro photography collection at the USGS Bee Inventory and Montering Lab: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/
(These are open source images, but remember always credit the photographer and source of the photo.)

A helpful bumblebee poster that includes some of the species we have in the Lower Mainland, with links to two other great resources further down the page. Bees, Birds and Butterflies by Janet Partlow, Nancy Partlow and Glenn Buschmann:

Dr. Elizabeth Elle’s Lab at Simon Fraser Elementary has a great info page for the public:

Consider these careers for a better future getting close and personal with bees:
entomologist, taxonomist, ecologist, horticulturalist, eco-gardener, eco-garden designer, eco-farmer, habitat restoration specialist, conservationist, outdoor educator, ecological policy maker, artist who runs with the bees and more!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Postcards from Victoria

It's a tradition for my visit to Victoria, to hop on the 11 am ferry and head to Uchida as soon as I get off the bus in Victoria.

(Note: If you are looking for the source notes for my lecture on Gardening for Bumblebees on Vancouver Island, it's in the post below.)

Tucked in beside the Bug Museum in Nootka Court, it makes simple, fresh, and delicious Japanese cuisine.

Uchida are only open until they sell out, and they were already out of the special when I arrived.

Now I follow Nourish on Insta, and I was so happy to finally get to visit their new digs in the city.

So cozy and airy, with my kind of food, this is my new happy place.

 Turmeric, almond milk and herbal chai make the Imperial Sunrise. I had one every day of my trip!

Yes, I broke my diet for the cashew cheesecake with quince compote. IT WAS WORTH IT! I really want to learn how to make that cheesecake.

Hello, the second floor is brilliant!

You can tell they serve a lot of breakfasts and brunches: maple syrup and brown sugar corner. Also, please note that the sister restaurant to Nourish, Charlotte and the Quail is located in the Horticultural Centre for the Pacific, only a few minutes outside the city and well worth the visit.

Nourish is just around the corner from the frozen fountain at the Ledge.

This was the first time visiting Victoria since my friend Donna passed away. I used to visit her here every winter. I thought there would be a real heaviness in my heart, but I actually felt very peaceful and deeply grateful for the memories we shared here.

There she is, the Dowager Empress Hotel.

This was the first time I ever visited the museum. The good thing is you can check your suitcase  and go in and out of the museum all day. This is a great way to spend those last hours before hopping on the bus to the ferry!

 Hello Hairy!

I was so pleased they carried my book in the gift shop that I spent a ton of money buying other people's books! The museum has a coffee shop and I wanted to make sure y'all know there is a really great exhibition on the herbarium just facing the shop. I almost missed it, but it was my favorite part of the exhibition! Also, I recommend breaking the museum visit up into two parts. Do the natural history, go have a snack and then do the anthropological displays, or vice-versa.

And here's my new friend Maisy. She's always ready for her close-up! Special thanks to my hosts who gave me a lovely warm place to sleep and helped make my trip so fabulous.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Gardening for the Bumblebees of Vancouver Island

Here are the resource links from my talk at Saanich Seedy Saturday. Thanks again for such an awesome event! Island people are the best. These are the bare bones of my resources, but I will keep adding to this.

Saanich Native Plants: They have workshops and sell plants and seeds. They are giving a workshop on the Garry Oak Ecosystem in April/May.
Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team: Their handbook has garden plans in it that are fabulous for bees
Dr. Elizabeth Elle’s info for the Public
An article on Dr. Elle’s work on Vancouver Island
Habitat Acquisition Trust: Their brochure on native gardening is the bee’s knees.
How to make a bumblebee box

Rosemary at Willow Wood Farm on Vancouver Island sells many varieties of willows that are great for early spring forage for bees.

By Maleea Acker, published by New Star Books. It’s such a passionate and poetic celebration of the Garry Oak meadows.

Bombus occidentalis Plant List Garry Oak Ecosystem

Early Flowering (from March)
yellow glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum)
white fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum)
pink fawn lily (Erythronium revolutum)
red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)
broad-leaved shootingstar (Dodecatheon hendersonii)
sea blush (Plectritis congesta)
spring-gold (Lomatium utriculatum)
Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Mid-Season April-July
arbutus (Arbutus menziesii) a great tree for bumblebees
camas species (Camassia spp.)
gold star (Crocidium multicaule)  (Aster family)
menzie’s larkspur (Delphinium menziesii)
nootka rose (Rosa nutkana)
oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor)
snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.)
Deltoid Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea)
wooly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum)

Late-flowering (until Aug or Sept)
pearly everlasting  (Anaphalis margaritacea)

nodding onion (Allium cernuum)
salal (Gaultheria shallon)
evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)
entire-leaved gumweed (Grindelia stricta)
white glacier lilly (Erythronium Montanum)

(Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery)
Team Society, 2009, p. 32; USDA Forest Service, 2010, p. 2.

Source: Native Pollinator Campus Restoration Project, Darnell it al, University of Victoria, 2014.

Some of the key plants for bumblebees in the Garry Oak Ecosystems (from Dr. Elle’s list)
1)   Common Camas (Camassia quamash)
2)    Great Camas (Camassia leichtlinii )
3)   Snowberry (Symphoricarpus albus)
4)   Sea Blush (Plectritus congesta)
5)   Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus)
6)   Dull Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa)
7)   Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
8)   Menzies Larkspur (Dephinium menziesii)
9)   Shooting Star (Dodecatheon hendersonii)
10) Tall Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
11) Hardhack (Spirea douglasii)
12)  Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)
13)  Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor)
14)   Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora)
15)   Oregon Sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum)
16)     Pacific sanicle (Sanicula crassicaulis)
17)    Field chickweed (Cerastium arvens)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Cure for Stage Fright: Facing the New Year with Courage and Equanimity

Night for All Souls, Mountainview Cemetery

It’s the second day of 2017, and I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the work I’ve got on my plate this year. I’m checking out all my friends’ and colleagues’ positive gung ho messages on social media and thinking “Why don’t I share that positive ‘can do’ attitude?” Truth is, I’m feeling fear and anxiety. I’m more Grumpy Cat than Kimmy Schmidt. These negative vibes came home to me as I chatted to my friend Catherine. She had taken her granddaughter to a live theatre production of Mary Poppins. Audrey got dressed in her new vest that Catherine made for her, and one of her best dresses.  The night before the show Audrey whispered, “Grandma, I have stage fright.” Catherine explained that they weren’t going on the stage so there was really nothing to be afraid of. Nonetheless, the little girl was feeling nervous, so she brought along her favorite stuffy cat.
They arrived at the theatre. When Audrey saw a load of other kids in their best clothes toting stuffies alongside their grandmas, she was calmed. She absolutely loved the production, spending it on the edge of her seat clutching her kitty. “How do they fly grandma?” she asked. “Well, you can ask the stage manager after the show,” Catherine whispered. Catherine’s friend Caren is the stage manager of the show. Not only did Audrey get to go back stage to see all the rigging and see the mechanics of the production, she got to meet Mary Poppins herself and try on her hat. It was a little girl’s dream come true.
Tidy Tips and Coreopsis

I found this story deeply touching. And it helped me to realize that I have been suffering from a kind of stage fright myself. Last year was a very public time for me, having launched my book and doing lots of traveling and teaching.  It was very satisfying for the extrovert part of myself, but very tiring for my introverted self. Then I was hit by a big whammy: one of my very best friends died suddenly on August 24, 2016. The next three months passed in a blur as I finished my teaching and speaking engagements for the rest of the year while in tremendous distress. I was able to take some time to grieve in between gigs, but it was difficult. My heart was raw. I felt so lost and bereft. She was one of those people that really knew me-- all my dark and vulnerable corners. I went to the local cemetery and spent time with the wildflowers and bees. I donated some wildflower seeds, which one of the gardeners has generously planted in Donna’s honor.
It still seems like a short time since I lost Donna, and I still wake to the wonder that she is no longer here in body, even though I still feel her spirit every day. As the time comes for me to do my first speaking engagement of the year, I feel I do have stage fright. I really want to keep quietly hibernating, researching and grieving.  But as my dad is fond of saying, “There’s no rest for the wicked.” So I’ve got to get back on that stage and smile and sing and raise hell for the bees. I’ve got to get that fire burning in my belly, so the cold fear burns away. I’m going to need your help too, because some of the things I’m going to tackle this year are going to piss people off. There’s going to be more fire and brimstone in my personal brand of “beevangelism”. No more Mrs. Nice Bee!
So Audrey dear, I’m gonna take a big breath, dress in my finest clothes and I’m really going to try to make my words fly. I might need to bring my stuffy along with me. I hope there’s some kind and supportive people in the audience. I hope to see you there. And I hope some of you can join me at my first gig, which is at Saanich Seedy Saturday at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific on January 14. I’m so excited!!!!

Tips for Melting New Year’s Stage Fright.

Take your vitamin D. It’s winter, DUH.
Start the day with morning pages and intentions and end the day with a warm gratitude list of things you accomplished.
Reach out to friends with simple e-mail check-ins, dates, and just taking the time to think nice warm thoughts about them.
Make a Plan B if things don’t work out—make several plans and back those up with backup plans.
Plan ahead. Be prepared. Nuff said.
Make a list of your happy places and go there in your mind or real time.
Slow down. Embrace the inner tortoise. She is beautiful and wise.
Embrace the people, thought patterns, and situations that give you the buzz of their intrinsic (solar) energy.
Jettison any thought patterns, people, and situations that are your personal kryptonite. Let go of that sh_t.