November 2022 Bulletin

Recap of the Shutterbee Symposium!

Shutterbee Symposium

There may have been some unexpected snow on the ground on November 12th, but many of us spent it warm inside at Webster listening to fabulous talks put together by people affiliated with Shutterbee. This newsletter will be a recap of the talks given, including some links to handouts the speakers made or websites with more information. For those participants who were unable to join us but still want to watch the talks, a recording of the talks is available on the Login page of this website.

Talk #1: A Charm of Goldfinches: American Goldfinches at Litzsinger Road Ecology Center

Colleen Crank gave a talk about her bird banding efforts at LREC. She found that goldfinches only represent 2% of the birds banded in May, but they can upwards of 50% of the birds in the Fall. She suspects it’s because LREC is full of goldfinches’ favorite food––seeds from Asteraceae plants including Silphium and Rudbeckia.

Goldfinch looking for seeds. Photo by Colleen Crank

Talk #2 Community orchard pollination: From visit to your table

Alex Hoke is an undergraduate student at Webster. He is helping on a USDA funded project examining urban orchards. He washed the pollen off of bees and looked to see if the pollen was from the orchard fruits or other plants. In the future, Alex is interested at looking at the nutritional value of the fruit to see if there are differences between different orchards.

Talk #3 Rediscovering my native garden

Don Richardson gave an inspiring talk about the journey he has taken to create a garden that suits his goals. He wanted a garden that did not have to be laborious to maintain, provided tranquility and attracted wildlife. He talked about how he was inspired by both English Cottage and Japanese styles of garden design. Don broke his design up into manageable, achievable sections that allowed him to complete his goals.

Here is a handout Don created with all the lessons he learned.

Don’s peaceful garden featuring a koi pond

Talk #4 What influences Shutterbee gardeners’ decisions?

Coral Martin is an undergrad at Webster. She looked at what influences people’s planting choices including people, entities such as HOAs, cities ordinances , or organizations such as gardening groups. A survey was given to people before and after they participated in Shutterbee. Coral showed how after a year of doing Shutterbee, people looked more to nature and conservation groups to get information about their gardening choices than before.

Talk #5 Mulch Better soil for the bees

Lisa Brunette discussed how she and her husband turned their quarter acre backyard from all lawn to a garden full of native plants and vegetables. The trick to removing all their lawn was sheet mulching. They covered the grass in cardboard followed by 4 to 6 inches of mulch. The mulching killed all the grass and made it easy for them to install their native plants. You can learn more about Lisa’s gardening journey by subscribing to her Substack.

Lisa and Anthony’s garden before and after sheet mulching

Talk #6 Whimsical Words Whoopsies

Cheyenne Davis is a graduate of Webster and worked with Shutterbee writing newsletters, doing fieldwork and analyzing data. She highlighted some instances when autocorrect had its way when entering plant names. These include:

  • Euphoria (Euphorbia)
  • Thanks China (Echinacea)
  • Golden Road (Goldenrod)
  • And for all you Greek mythology nerds… Asclepius (Asclepias)

Talk #7 Rabbit resistant native gardening

Sarah Wilson highlighted how she changed her gardening and attitude to deal with rabbits. She experimented and learned that there are certain plants rabbits do not like and she can put fences around her plants. (Fences meant for dogs are attractive, sturdy and cheap.) But Sarah also highlighted that if she is gardening for nature, rabbits are going to be part of that. So she needed to learn to coexist and accept them.
Sarah put together this handout of rabbit-resistant plants.

Talk #8 Making yards more friendly for shiny-green and armored bees

Evelyn Guerrero was an REU student at the garden and with Nicole last summer. She is an undergrad at University of Texas Permian Basin. She looked at if there was a correlation between the presence of shiny green bees (Tribe Augochlorini) and armored bees (Heriades) from Shutterbee surveys. She found that the predominately ground nesting Augochlorini were more common in less urban gardens, whereas the cavity nesting Heriades were equally common across the urbanization gradient.

Talk #9 Picturing Bees in Community: Shutterbee as a Contributor to Pollinator Paradise Engagement 

Rebecca Klemme Eliceiri discussed how Shutterbee has helped her celebrate and explain the worth of the Givens Elementary Pollinator Paradise garden. She has found 78 species (bees and other organisms) in the garden. Documenting her findings on iNaturalist have been very useful. They help demonstrate to the Givens community about the importance of Pollinator Paradise. She has showed what wildlife are using the garden, tracked invasive species, provided evidence of how the garden is supporting wildlife, and has given Rebecca an excuse to visit more.

You can learn more about the garden here.
And if you want to help in the garden, you can join this Facebook group.

Talk #10 My LOVE of Macro Photography

Darla Preiss shared how taking macro photos of insects led her to learn more about them, discover their beauty, and learn to look at the world in a new way. She emphasized that not every photo has to be beautiful, it’s all about using photography to connect to nature in new ways.

A few of Darla’s photos

Talk #11 Bees and Pollen Thieves: How Do They Behave?

Luz Rooney highlighted some types of “cheaters” of the bees world. This includes kleptoparasitic bees that don’t collect any pollen themselves. Instead the females lay their eggs in other bee nests. There are also bees such as carpenter bees (Xylocopa) that will pierce the outside of the flower and steal the nectar without collecting any pollen

Talk #12 Hibiscus bees

Ned Siegel talked about a bee that has recently fascinated him, the hibiscus bee Ptilothrix bombiformis. This bee needs hibiscus flowers, compacted soil and water. Ned has found the bee in his yard, and other Shutterbee participants have too. He examined Shutterbee data and founds that people have also spotted it on other plants including okra, buttonbush and other mallow plants such as cotton. Next year, Ned is going to track the hibiscus bee in his yard to see which species of mallow plants it prefers — the three native Hibiscus species or one of the many other mallows he has planted.

Thank you to all our speakers and audience members. You made this event so much fun!

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