Bees, bugs buzz to life in photos

The University offered exploration sessions of nature and workshops where insects became models for photographers and attendees in celebration of the last day of National Pollinator Week.

This week-long event was established in 2007 to increase awareness of pollinators and to support their efforts.

The final day of pollinator week was celebrated by the University under the name “Pollinator Discovery Day,” which started at 10 a.m. Sunday and concluded at 6 p.m.

The session began with a nature walk and continued with a photography workshop, public lecture, kids activities and an information workshop about bees. Each session featured a guest speaker or instructor.

Michelle Duennes, the event co-coordinator and University Ph.D. student of entomology, said the insect photography workshop was designed to get people interested in taking photographs of insects, which could help scientific research.

“Citizen scientists have become an emerging thing where websites come up, and people can send pictures of insects so they can map out the distribution,” Duennes said. “They try to get the community involved and mapping out distributions for endangered species. The better the photo gets, the easier (it is) for scientists to identify the species.”

Alexander Wild, the guest photographer for the insect photography workshop, said Pollinator Week provided an opportunity for people to think about insects.

“Pollinator Week is a vehicle to give people a reason to think about their environment,” Wild said. “I think both Pollinator Week and photography are things that can get people to think about insects.”

Maggie Wachter, a bee keeper and University graduate student, said the event has helped her to develop her project about bees.

“Alex Wild has given me some solutions for my own photography,” Wachter said. “I like to do videos of bees, and I just took a video of a bumblebee at the prairie. Since I want to get a closer shot of the bumblebee, I just learned from Alex about the right camera to do my bee video.”

Wachter added that Pollinator Week is a week to pay close attention to and to be aware of the endangered species of bees.

“Every week should be Pollinator Week. Pollinators are too important to neglect,” Wachter said. “I am afraid that it is only the start to see the decline of the honey bees and the rising prices of berries and nuts. So I am really glad that people are paying attention to the need of human insect partnerships of pollinators and us.”