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Blueberry Bee, Osmia ribifloris on berberry.  Photo courtesy Dr. Suzanne Batra, USDA ARS

The New Mexico Native Bee Pollinator Project

Sponsored by Pollinator Paradise

This announcement was published in the Edible Santa Fe magazine's Jan issue, and the Dec issue of the Santa Fe Farmers Market Dec newsletter.  Pollinator Paradise supports this initiative:

Calling all Gardeners!! Join an initiative for
Bee Habitat Corridors

Vision: a string of farms and gardens across the New Mexico landscape with habitat that supports both honeybees and native bee species. Our bees are facing extraordinary threats today with problems like colony collapse & pesticide poisonings. With the honeybees (an imported species) in jeopardy, we need to ensure that essential pollination services continue. Without these services a significant number of our agricultural crops would fail. There are about 4000 wild bee species in North America, some of whom help significantly with pollination when given habitat. In New Mexico, we donít yet know all the native species.  NM bee specialists welcome more info from the field than they can collect themselves.

Gardens for the more flamboyant hummingbirds and butterflies have become popular; now the bees need our support. Thereís a fear factor with bees however, even among nature lovers. Honey bees sting because they have a treasure trove to defend, and a queen who lays all of the eggs. Not so with native species: the vast majority of them are solitary bees who ARE VERY DOCILE and do not sting unless they are handled roughly.  When we become educated about our bees, a new understanding develops that they can be both safe and a delight to have around.

Potential Activities include:
** Seed and info exchanges on the best bee plants and cover crops for a given area
** Education about native species. They can be given nesting habitat with simple measures---holes in wood, bundles of pithy sticks, appropriate bare ground, mud puddles for mud builders
** Housing honeybees with simple, low cost, easily made top bar hives
** Exploring bee drinker construction to provide drinking water for bees without drownings
** Collecting native specimens for taxonomic ID by bee specialists.
** Offering educational opportunities for all ages on the science and pleasures of bees and bee habitat.
** A bee book club to share bee lore
** Round-robin bee garden parties and work days

Organizational possibilities include:
a list serve; educational workshops, gatherings in membersí gardens, organized exchange activities; lecture/demos by experts; creation and presentation of educational projects for children'sí groups. Other ideas are welcome!. Meeting places: participantsí gardens, supporting institutions and enterprises, a farmerís market after vending hours, or ??

To join the collaborative, contact:
Patty Parks-Wasserman (normal telecommunications): patty@permacultureforchildren.net 
Laurie Lange (slow track communication): botanicarts@earthlink.net

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