Environment Forum

California biologist seeks volunteer bee-counters

A California biologist who is conducting a kind of bee-census across the U.S. and Canada called the Great Sunflower Project is looking for volunteer field workers.

Gretchen LeBuhn, an associate professor at San Francisco State University with a fascination for bees, is studying bee colony collapse and an apparent decline in honey bee populations across North America, and for a project that big, she says, she needs help.

LeBuhn’s volunteers are required only to plant a sunflower in their yard and observe the nature and behavior of the bees the pollen-rich plants attract. Those signing up get a free packet of sunflower seeds along with instructions for proper bee monitoring.

She told the Orange County Register newspaper in an interview that she already has some 60,000 helpers but needs more.

“Sunflowers are a nice, big canvas,” LeBuhn told the Register. “You can look at bees that come and stay there a little while. In watching them, you really learn about whats out there.”

from Shop Talk:

Haagen-Dazs (hearts) honeybees

haagen-dazs20loves20honey20beesIce cream seller Haagen-Dazs is investing a half-million dollars to save the honeybees -- and to save us from a future of feeding on gruel. 

Honeybees, which 60 Minutes called the "unsung heroes of the food chain," are threatened in many parts of the world, putting food supplies in danger.

Bees pollenate one-third of all of the natural foods we eat. Just imagine a world without nuts, fruits, vegetables, flowers and even meat and milk from cattle that eat bee-pollenated alfalfa.