The Wild Bee Monitoring Club will be devoted to monitoring native bees as citizen scientists for 1.5 hours per session with host Susan Frye, a PhD candidate from the University of Toronto. The club aims to explore native bees, their role in pollination and how habitats support native bees in the OURSpace learning garden and other areas of High Park, observing them as they emerge, create new nests, and interact with flowering plants in the vicinity. We will also identify plants that are used by native bees and wasps for food and nest building, and will explore their flower architecture. A major component of this club will use the Sonic SolitariesAudio Bee Cabinet - an observable nest site for bees in OURSpace - to encompass a sensory experience with stem nesting bees and wasps, and to record weekly activity at the cabinet. Pairing magnified views in tandem with amplified sound via headphones, the cabinet facilitates an enhanced perception of its tiny inhabitants: solitary bees and wasps and other nest biota in action, up close. As citizen scientists, we can gather and record observations to compile them into a database that will contribute to our growing understanding of native bees, the native (and non-native) plants they use for food and nest material sources, their co-evolution, and how pollination in a park and restored habitat setting is facilitated by native bees. Videos and more about the subject matter are posted at Resonating Bodies.
Presented in collaboration with City of Toronto.
Leader Susan Frye is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Her research explores native bee communities in temperate forests. More specifically, she wants to understand resource use and distribution of bees in forest environments, particularly when resources in the understory are scarce, and bees may be forced to opportunistically search for non-floral carbohydrates in tree canopies.