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Bees with pollen on their legs.

Materials

Outdoor site.

Methods

Become aware of the animals that use your site. Including native plant species helps considerably, as do organic gardening methods and still and running water sources. The more time you spend outdoors, the more likely you will be to find more species!

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In finding these native bee nests (the two filled holes on the left), I'd had an awareness (from reading) that most California native bees are solitary and lay their eggs in hollow, tube-like crevices. In other garden locations, I'd noticed lichens growing from holes in the fences. It wasn't until I was saying good-bye to a family at the end of one day that I saw a bee flying into a hole at eye level, right next to where I was standing. The hole on the left was already filled, the middle hole was being filled, as I observed, one egg at a time and separated by a layer of lichen, working her way outward, and the third hole was filled the following day. About a week later, holes were found in the lichens as presumably the young bees had flown out.

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A honeybee becomes lunch.

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Mating bees.

Resources

Edible Education 103: "A Bee's Eye View to Farming Sustainably" with Claire Kremen. I recommend this to educate yourself and also possibly to share with older children. One hour, two minute lecture on YouTube:
EE103 with Claire Kremen Link

Google Hangout with Claire Kremen in which she answers questions about both native pollinators and honeybees in school gardens and on farms:
Google Hangout with Claire Kremen Link

In this video from Peaceful Valley, learn how to plant a hedgerow attract pollinators. Included on the same page are beneficial bug articles and products:
How to Plant a Hedgerow

If you want to know about bees, scientists say look no further than Dr. Gordon Frankie. This is his site:
Urban Bee Gardens

A deep site for invertebrates, including bees and other pollinators. It includes free identification .pdfs that can be downloaded into iBooks!
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Stay on the lookout for beekeepers! There are local societies, hobbyists, and enthusiasts anywhere I've needed to look. In the following photos, a couple who works for one of the parents at the school have brought a demonstration hive (and described the reasons they chose European over American hive styles), laminated photos of recent bee removals from a home, internet printouts of the purposes of beekeeping, and samples of local spring and fall honey and honeycomb they collected and shared with everyone. I have never tasted a better honey!!! They talked about bee gender and work, and how life is for the bees in the hive.
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Native bee habitat provisions, accessed via Facebook, from Iudo Taris.

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By Heather Taylor, teachoutside@gmail.com

Please feel free to contribute more information.