Catch That Buzz: Pollination Fest Celebrates Bees & Beyond
By Samantha Anne Carrillo
Humanity has amassed an impressive body of knowledge about nature’s own means of spreading life across this planet. But the science of flora’s self-propagation—namely the study of pollination by insects, a.k.a. anthecology—remains difficult to separate from an element of folksy magic.
Take, for instance, the slight yet powerful bee, whose perfectly fuzzy body—designed to collect and disperse pollen—possesses an innate electrostatic charge. There are other insects and indeed animals that pollinate, including, moths, bats, some rodents and birds, but the mighty bee is nature’s most flawless agent of vital dispersal.
Organizational support from Think Like a Bee and local sponsors like the New Mexico Beekeepers’ Association assisted councilors Isaac Benton—who introduced the resolution—and Brad Winter in passing the Bee City USA Resolution unanimously at the Albuquerque City Council in August 2016. Among other recommendations, this resolution provides both an ideological and practical basis and set of directives for supporting native pollinators in our fair city.
Fostering environmental awareness among citizens and communities of pollinators’ integral role in man’s survival is a manifold proposition. Reducing pesticide use, supporting the renewal of native habitats, and heightening public awareness of the role of pollinators in our everyday lives is the Bee City USA mission statement. National Pollinator Week 2017 runs from June 19 to 25, and a fest to kick it off happens at the Open Space Visitor Center (6500 Coors Blvd. N.W.) on Sunday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The day’s events actually begin at 8:30 a.m with a permaculture workshop and planting with La Orrilla Farms’s Michael Reed. By 10 a.m., Storytellers of New Mexico, including Regina Ress, spin yarns for all ages, followed by live music from Bébé La La and a noontime ribbon-cutting ceremony that will host councilors Benton and Winter. Celebrate pollinators this Sunday and beyond with ongoing opportunities like appointing the Open Space Visitor Center’s new Bee Hotel; its “rooms” will be created from materials like hole-y logs, twigs, recycled wood, bamboo and cane, and you can rest assured that wild bees and other native pollinators will find refuge and comfort at the so-called bee inn.
Check out the Open Space Visitor Center’s new “Insects Magnified” exhibit in their Windows Room. Artist Kelly Eckel creates her work by combining her photographs of magnified insects in a hybrid composition. At this exhibition, running now through Oct. 1, Eckel presents her work’s creative base, those fantastic macro images of insect wings, hairs and eyes. Talk about the bee’s knees.
Other Bee City Pollination Celebration and ongoing events include beekeeping displays and activities, honey tastings, educational booths, activities for kids and a multitude of artsy-craftsy pollinator-themed happenings. Albuquerque will only officially celebrate pollinators for one week but our Bee City USA designation means that the movement and resolution’s overarching goals are long-term local endeavors.
Enhancing environmental awareness, reducing chemical pesticide use and specifically fostering awareness of pollinators’ integral role in preserving and promoting the variety of plants that make up our high-desert ecosystem must be constant and persistent. Opportunities to get involved with pollinator-friendly organizations and efforts abound. Like its thoughtful, dedicated volunteers, Bee City USA-adjacent activism comes in myriad forms.
Maybe you want to educate yourself on pollinator-friendly local plants and design your own backyard oasis. You can also support efforts simply by shopping for organically grown, local fruits, veggies and honey; supporting local farmers is one of the most meaningful ways that you can directly impact local efforts to reduce chemical pesticide use and enhance your own awareness of our environment. To introduce the next generation to the wide world of pollen, consider kid-friendly events like this weekend’s Pollination Celebration.
Spring and summer are prime times for homeowners to find themselves staring at a swarm of bees. If you see one on your property, chances are good there’s a hive nearby. Rather than hiring a pest control company to destroy said hive, you can contact one of well over three dozen Albuquerque and greater New Mexico residents who will retrieve and relocate them at abqbeeks.org/page/report-a-swarm. Unless you’re trained in hive removal, taking this home improvement task on yourself is ill-advised and dangerous.
Protecting birds, bees and other pollinators along with their native environment will take commitment and effort from citizens across the globe. Alongside reducing man-made carbon emissions, working toward the renewal of native flora and fauna is a worthwhile investment in Albuquerque, a city that’s dear to our collective high-desert heart, and beyond.
For more on the fest and other ways to catch that buzz, avail yourself of these links:
Samantha Anne Carrillo is: a Burqueña; a freelance writer & editor; a social media consultant & brand strategist; and a fourth-wave feminist & devout situationist. Connect with her at facebook.com/samanthaannenm, samanthaannecarrillo.contently.com and twitter.com/SamAnneCarrillo.
Bee looking forward: August 19 – November 11, 2017
Curated by Valerie Roybal
516 ARTS presents Cross Pollination, a group exhibition showcasing work at the intersection of art and science that focuses on bees and other pollinators. About 35 percent of the world’s food crops and 75 percent of the flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce. Pollinators, including bees, moths and butterflies and birds, have become increasingly threatened by human action. With this knowledge, artists have responded to the issue by working with and for pollinators to raise awareness about their profound benefits to life on earth. Curated by artist/backyard beekeeper Valerie Roybal, with curatorial assistance from Claude Smith and Aimee Gwynne Franklin, Cross Pollination not only refers to how bees and other insects pollinate a large portion of the world’s food, but also to the cross pollination of ideas in art and science. The exhibition includes local, national and international artists working in painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation, film/video, performance, and more.
Jennifer Angus (Wisconsin)
Talia Greene (Pennsylvania)
Steve Barry (New Mexico)
Mary Judge (New York)
Susanna Carlisle & Bruce Hamilton (New Mexico)
Bryan Konefsky/Basement Films (New Mexico)
Chris Collins (New Mexico)
Stephanie Lerma (New Mexico)
Kristin Diener (New Mexico)
Hilary Lorenz (New York & New Mexico)
Aganetha and Richard Dyck (Canada)
Kelly Eckel (New Mexico)
Daisy Patton (Colorado)
Jo Golesworthy (United Kingdom)
Ren Ri (China)
Lily Hunter Green (United Kingdom)
PUBLIC PROGRAMS INCLUDE:
Public programs for Cross Pollination start in June and July and run through the fall. They include public forums, artist talks, workshops, hands-on art/science activities, educational tours and more to be announced. Program partners around the city include The City of Albuquerque Open Space, the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Albuquerque Beekeepers Association.
Botanical Mural Project
Exhibition artist Pastel (Argentina) painted two murals in Downtown Albuquerque on the Tower Building and the Sanitary Tortilla Factory in March 2017 as a preview for the Cross Pollination exhibition. The murals depict local, native plants on which bees and other pollinators depend.
Bee Market Pop-Up Shop
516 ARTS will host a pop-up shop August 19 – December 15, featuring bee- and pollinator-related products and gifts including specialty small batches of local honey, T-shirts, jewelry, bee houses and an array of goods and crafts. A portion of the proceeds benefit the nonprofit 516 ARTS.