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Crowdsourcing Citizen Science to Protect Bees: Free Program on Bumblebees and Pollinators and Metacomet Land Trust Annual Meeting
May 18, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pmFree
Please join us in Norfolk at Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary for our annual membership meeting, election and a special program on the health and diversity of native bumblebees which pollinate familiar New England crops and flowers. The membership meeting will begin at 6:30 and the program at 7:00 p.m.
The annual meeting will be highlighted by a presentation by Dr. Robert J. Gegear, Assistant Professor of Biology and Biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Gegear’s research focuses on plant-pollinator interactions, with a particular focus on bumblebees, which are key pollinators of many wild and crop plants, making them important players in ecosystem function, food security, and the agro-economy.
Dr. Gegear studies how bumblebees react to challenges in their habitat and how citizens can play a role in conservation and restoration of pollinators. For over a decade, bumblebees and other pollinator groups have undergone a dramatic reduction in species abundance and distribution in North America. Given the vital role that pollinators play in plant reproduction, these declines pose a significant threat to agricultural productivity, biodiversity, and ecosystem health.
In Massachusetts, for example, many farm crops rely on bee pollination for the production of fruit crops, including apples, blueberries, and cranberries, and many native animals utilize bee-pollinated plants for food, shelter and nest sites. Although the cause of pollinator decline remains unknown, human-induced changes to critical components of pollinator habitat are thought to be a major factor, including introduction of pesticides, novel infectious agents, non-native species, and the loss of floral resources and adequate nesting sites.
Bumblebees are an important native pollinator of many wild and native crop plants in Massachusetts, but many species are so uncommon that they may have disappeared from the state. To address this important issue, Dr. Gegear has initiated the “Bee-cology” project, which “crowdsources” the collection of ecological data to accelerate the conservation and restoration of our native bumblebee/plant pollination systems.
Our annual report to members is now in the mail to current members. Please review this when it arrives and, if you are not able to participate in the meeting on May 18th, please sign and return the proxy ballot. The Annual Report is also available here in a PDF version: MLT Annual Report 2016