pSU sTUDENT sUSTAINABILITY CENTER: BEE TASK FORCE PARTNERS WITH THE mUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: Invertebrates
The Student Sustainability Center is a collection of programs designed by students for students, striving to create a place for positive change on campus and elsewhere. The Bee Task Force joined the SSC during the 2015-2016 school year after almost a year of prep work creating a five-year plan, acquiring official permitting, becoming Bee Campus Certified and trying to find our place in our new home of the SSC. Being apart of the founding team and now coordinator of the Bee Task Force has been a rollercoaster ride. One of the main hurdles is providing learning opportunities to all who are interested, and also providing enough public outreach activities to the public to ignite interest in those who are not yet aware. One way this hurdle is tackled is by hosting weekly work parties and tri-annual public hands-on educational events. A second hurdle the Bee Task Force faces is providing habitat, forage and nesting, for the bees both native and honey bees that call the PSU Community Orchard their home. Through the help of the greater Portland community, the Orchard and Apiary are turning into more of a pollinator paradise each year by implementing year long pollinator friendly landscape design plans!
The Museum of Natural History's primary goal is to acquire new specimens, maintain current specimens - some dating back to the 1800s, and to radiate species biodiversity knowledge throughout all demographics of the public. Since Spring 2017 I have been collecting native bee specimen, excluding those in the genus Bombus from the PSU Community Orchard, SRTC Native Garden, and Green Anchors Apiary in North Portland. Once specimens are collected I work on identifying to at least genera and then curate for different styles of displays or museum cases. Most identification is done by looking at dead specimens under a dissecting microscope, narrowing in on features such as wing venation, facial structures, hair placement - or lack their of, and coloration. Through identification and surveying we are able to learn which organisms are present, how to better care for them, and how to attract a greater diversity. Advocating for pollinators through outreach opportunities, like the those where we've partnered with through the Oregon Zoo, are great opportunities to engage and excite the younger generations, the future of science. Through working with the museum my personal knowledge has grown tremendously, but also has given my the opportunity to share the resources and knowledge with others, tying together my mission within the SSC.