How to Save the Bees, Go for a ride on a Pollinator Safari, and the Value of Deep Observation

Have you ever wondered how bees can survive in urban places? Supporting pollinator populations, like bees, in cities is easier than you may think!

Join us this week for an in-depth conversation with Nick Dorian, co-founder, and Jessie Thuma, co-president, of the Tufts Pollinator Initiative (TPI). Learn why bee populations are under threat, discover the Big 5 during a Pollinator Safari, and see how you can engage with TPI around the Tufts campus or from afar.

Find more information by visiting the Tufts Pollinator Initiative website, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @pollinatetufts.

Connect with Nick on Twitter, @bee_searcher, and Instagram, @beesearcher.

Connect with Jessie on Twitter @jessie_thuma.

Episode Transcript:

peter: [00:00:00] welcome back to another episode of the UE podcast in today’s episode, I am joined by Nick Dorian and Jessie Thuma.

Nick is the co-founder, and Jessie is the co-president of Tufts pollinator initiative. Nick is a PhD student in Theron lab in the biology department at Tufts university. And Jessie is a PhD student in the Starks lab, in the biology department at Tufts university.

Thank you for joining me today. Yeah. Thanks for having us. Thanks so much for having us time to be here. Do we want to just jump into your work at TPI?

nick: Yeah. In 2019, um, I was sitting around with a bunch of other biology graduate students and we realized we all had a love for doing community outreach for teaching people about the work we do.

And as it turns out, we all studied pollinators. I study solitary bees, but there are people studying honey bees and Butteries. And we thought it made sense to unite under one umbrella and sort of come up with a, like a think tank to kind of [00:01:00] brainstorm ways that we could have an impact on the community and engage, the community in Somerville and Medford with the work we’re doing.

And so after receiving funding from the Tufts screen fund, which sort of funds environmentally minded products on campus, um, we, Tufts pollinator initiative was born. And so we now like two, two and a half years, three years later, um, we now have 11, uh, students as on our team. Uh, Jessie and I are, are running Tufts pollinator initiative about seven graduate students and four undergrads.

Um, and we work at sort of the nexus of three different pillars. So we do, um, habitat creation by gardening for pollinators. We not only create habitat for insects like bees and butterflies. We also demonstrate to the community what gardens can look like in their own yards. Um, and we have interpretive signage so that when they visit, they sort of see why we’ve done this.

We do a lot of community outreach. So we host events like pollinator safari. We host events where we, we off we grow seeds, uh, plants [00:02:00] from seeds. Um, and we, we sell those to the community. Uh, and we also do trivia nights like pollinator trivia at AAU brewery or during COVID we did it on zoom. Um, and then the last element of our work is, is sort of pollinator science, right?

So we’re all graduate students. We all study pollinators of, of different kinds and, and our work is sort of addressing some key issues, uh, and resolving those key issues of, of pollinator declines and, and how they’re likely to fare in the future. And part of that work is also training undergrad mentees to be environmental scientists too.

So we sort of have broad impact with the community and we’re only interacting with them for maybe one or two hours at a time. We also have prolonged interest, uh, and, and, uh, interaction with undergrads over a semester or two training them, uh, to, to go out in the world and also study pollinators.

jessie: I’d say also prolonged interaction with social media.

So social media is a really big part of Tuft’s pollinator initiative. I can’t say I’m very good at social media, but we have people on the team who are great at it. And so that’s another way that we’ve really tried to reach out to sort of all different [00:03:00] groups in the community and on Tufts campus. , recently one of our undergrads on the team, Chloe is amazing at social media and she had a reel that reached 2 million views.

Wow. I know that’s impressing. I know we’re still bragging about it. yeah, it’s great.

nick: 2 million people saw us marking bees with paint pens. That is pretty amazing.

peter: Awesome.

 That sounds great. You had mentioned, there are a lot of key issues that you tackle with the pollinator initiative and you had mentioned bees declining. Could you speak more about what are some of the issues facing bees and pollinators at large in our changing world?

jessie: First of all, when a lot of people think about, be decline, they’re thinking about honey bees, we need to think about all the thousands of bee species that we actually have around us.

 I know the biggest question that I get when I’m out doing field work, or when we’re out at TPI events is, oh, no, the, the honey bees, you gotta save the honey bees, right?

They’re in decline. And it’s like, well, they have their ups and downs, but they’re not a species that’s in decline. They’re an agricultural species. We [00:04:00] veer them to be on our farms, the real bees or the bees that are really in decline are the wild native bees that we have around us. So European honey bees, we bring in from Europe.

Um, they’re not native. They’re good pollinators on farms for what we need them to be. Basically we throw a bunch of bees at the farm and stuff gets pollinated, but the ones we really need to worry about are our native bees like Bumble, be. Um, but also all the solitary bees ones that Nick studies and the other 298 species , um, and some of the big drivers of decline in our bee species, the ones that are really supporting what honey bees are doing out on the farms and the ones that we don’t need to manage so much, they just kind of do their thing and keep our ecosystems running.

Mm-hmm one of the big reasons to decline is habitat loss. So when we build new skyscrapers, when we clear a space that was once, you know, wild plants for big [00:05:00] monocultures and agriculture, or even just really, uh, manicured lawns in our backyards, we’re removing habitat for those pollinators. And when we remove habitat, it means we’ve removed food for them.

With the flowers, we remove nesting space, um, two big keys for bees to keep on. Going from year to year. Mm.

peter: what types of habitats specifically like Meadows or all, all sorts.

nick: Oh, it’s incredible. It’s incredible. You know, people think of bees living in, in wildflower Meadows, but, and that’s, that’s only one part of the picture.

We have forest bees that are only active when the unders story is blooming with flowers before the canopy Leafs out. And if you were to go to the forest in August, you wouldn’t see any bees, but if you were there in April, the, the floor would be buzzing with bees. We have bees that are coastal dunes specialists.

They only live in sand dunes, on the beaches like Cape Cod. And they come out when seaside golden rod blooms in the last weeks of September, another bee is trying to complete its life cycle mm-hmm . There are bees that live in old field [00:06:00] Meadows, and there are bees that live, um, in pine. But there are also bees that live in cities.

Now cities are like a relatively new type of ecosystem. And for some, some species like songbirds cities might not be the best place for them. There’s not enough habitat, but interestingly for bees, cities are actually, a, Haven. They’re a hotspot. And if we look at cities around the world, there’s a surprising diversity biodiversity of bees that cities support.

And so one of the reasons why we started TPI. Was because cities are in a unique position to sort of be at the forefront of this aspect of biodiversity conservation. You typically think of having to preserve huge tracks of land like national parks, but actually a lot of conservation can happen in our own backyards.

And, interestingly in cities, everybody owns a small slice of the total land area. And so the reason why community outreach is as important as creating habitats on campus is because we need to show people and teach people, how to take [00:07:00] action and also give them the desire to take that action.

jessie: So the thing with urban pollinators that people don’t really think of cities as the place that you’d have a lot of pollinators mm-hmm, but like Nick says, if you look around, they actually.

They’re here and there’s a lot of them. But you have to think creatively with how you design your space to be more pollinator friendly, because if you make a few tweaks to your backyard or to the way that we just design our cityscapes, but as far as the individual goes and what they’re trying to do to help bees, when you’re thinking about your backyard, there’s a lot of ways to promote good habitat for bees.

And most of it means not highly managing everything, not mowing your lawn all the time, planting a few flowering plants that are great for bumblebees that are visiting or, or butterflies. I guess we’re talking about bumblebees though. Yeah. Bees

nick: no, but, well, I, I think Jessie has a really great point and, and that’s one of the reasons I was so excited to come on this podcast was because conservation in cities, again, unlike traditional conservation has to happen at the nexus of [00:08:00] biodiversity and people , it’s really easy to go out and say, oh, the city is devoid of wildlife.

But actually, if you look around a small pocket of, of garden contains a lot. And so this emphasizes that we can design spaces with both people and pollinators in mind and bringing those two sides together, I think can make really valuable green space green space that allows people to interact with wildlife and biodiversity, uh, at the level they’re comfortable with, but also allows them to go deeper if they become more excited.

And that’s something that we think a lot about when we design spaces on campus, we have interpretive signage that gives you just enough information to peak your curiosity. Maybe you’ve never seen or heard of a green bee, but we’ve planted plants that are attractive to green bee. So you have a really good chance of seeing them.

Um, you know, maybe you’ve never heard of, of leaving stem standing throughout the winter. Maybe you didn’t know that bees live inside hollow plant stems, but if we sort of take a step back and just, we leave some stem standing, you might say, huh, why isn’t this cut all the way to the ground? Our [00:09:00] signs will , teach you that.

And we have events that sort of guide you along. If you want to know. And our website has all sorts of resources for going that next step.

peter: You bring up a good point. That bees and pollinators are so frequent in the cities and that we do have this really interesting opportunity to, blend conservation with community action.

And that’s absolutely something at UEP that we pride ourselves on our work in trying to make those connections, not only about the climate crisis , but sustainability wise, how do we create environments that are good for both people and the planet and the organisms that are non-human that live in those environments too?

nick: Well, like the, the Highline, uh, in, in New York is like a really great example of. Old old space that was sort of turned in and reclaimed as green space and turned into a Haven for pollinators. And I see, I see a similar opportunity in Somerville with the creation of the new green line mm-hmm . How can we take advantage of this corridor for people and also make it a corridor for [00:10:00] pollinators, you know, pollinators not only need spaces to find food, but they also need to be able to move between gardens and connecting cities by planting gardens in your own backyard or intentionally creating long linear passages alongside train tracks, I think could be a really great way I’m doing this.

And there’s a Somerville just passed in this spring, like an ordinance to that, the sort of mandates native plantings and pollinator friendly plantings throughout the city. And I really think the opening of the green, line’s a, a perfect opportunity to take advantage of this.

jessie: And that’s a big thing that TPI is trying to do on Tufts campus right now, uh, with all of our, how many pollinator gardens do we have?

We have four, four now. Yeah. Four. Yeah. So we have a whole pollinator. What if you’ve been calling it something that I’m forgetting it. So yeah. Poll Plaza, the pollinator Plaza. Where do we find that? 5 74 Boston on the little patio outside. We now have a nice terraced, pollinator garden.

And then we have another larger pollinator garden. That’s going along a [00:11:00] little slope that we’ve made a little path through. That was planted. Last year, we have a third smaller garden in there. We’re about to go out like in a few weeks to clear some space for even more garden space next year. Um, and the goal is to make it a space that’s really attractive for people and pollinators alike.

Mm-hmm so

peter: already, is that challenging or are there. A lot of similarities between things that a pollinator would like and things that a human would

jessie: like. Well, I think we’re a little bit biased. But I do actually think that there is a lot of overlap. I mean, bees and butterflies really like colorful flowers and lots of them and a big diversity of them. And, personally I think that a big garden that’s full of lots of different colors and flowers and shapes is more attractive than like having a couple tulips or something like those are nice, but something a little more wild and pretty is really, really wonderful.

And I think people. Really enjoyed our space so far, we get a lot of comments and compliments on like [00:12:00] facilities. And Tufts has asked us to make more gardens because it’s just been a really popular space

nick: for people. Right? And so the point is like these gardens, I think one of the success of these gardens that the beds are, are not intruding on the patio space.

So if you want to use the courtyard, the pollinator Plaza, you don’t even need to know that there are plantings for pollinators there, you can just use it as a function space. Um, and so we saw people taking commencement photos there this spring and, uh, and, and kids would insist to their moms. They wanted to go home on this way because it is such an attractive and vibrant space.

However, if you’re like, wow, I, I want to know how to do this, or I wanna see an example of what these plants look. Well that information and that, uh, opportunity is there as well. And so, um, we sort of envision as a place where people and polls can come together, people can come together and share ideas. Um, and we just launched, um, uh, we hired a student, uh, Audrey, uh, to paint a mural on the sides of our beds.

And so we worked with the Tufts public art department to get approval and we hope that’s one way of sort of bringing in people that might just be [00:13:00] passing by. They might be attracted to the mural, like an insect is attracted to petals on a flower. Yeah. There you go. Exactly.

peter: It seems like through these pollinator gardens, especially the pollinator Plaza that you just mentioned, whether this was intentional or not, it seems like there’s sort of a scaffolding of different levels of engagement.

nick: Yeah. So there’s like, there’s many, there’s many dimensions of like human nature interaction. Right. There’s just sort of unintentional. I’m just passing by where there’s a very intentional, I went and I held a butterfly in my hand. I think creating space that allows all those dimensions to sort of be available.

Uh, and for you, uh, for, for visitors to sort of evolve in their, how much they want to interact. Is, uh, is something that we think about a lot when designing these gardens.

jessie: Yeah. Cause it’s definitely a space that even if you don’t think twice about it, as you walk past beyond like what a nice garden space, you’re more likely to walk past it again, mm-hmm and the more you walk past it, the more likely you are to notice the signs that we have maybe start looking at the flowers and they’re all in bloom.

Mm-hmm , you can start seeing all the different pollinators that [00:14:00] are visiting. And I don’t think that’s something that you would probably look at. And maybe, maybe you just don’t notice that when you’re passing by only a couple flowers, but if you actually see this whole space that we’ve set up, that’s very much designed to sort of reel you in once you start looking at it.

Um, I think that we also hold all of our events there. We hold a lot of outdoor events there to actually get people thinking about it. And Nick will run pollinator safari through our gardens. Yes.

peter: Tell, tell me more about pollinator safari, cuz that sounds really fun.

nick: So we held our first one, this, uh, labor day.

It was such a fun success. So the idea is to basically go out for an hour, an hour and a half and see what insects we can find. And the point of this is to show, people that there’s a ton of biodiversity packed into 250 square feet. And so we would go to the pollinator Plaza and I, I set the goal that we were gonna try to see the big five.

Now, if you’re on an African safari, the big five are all big charismatic mammals, like Cape Buffalo, um, and lions, but in, in a small garden, the big five were bees, [00:15:00] butterflies, hover flies, uh, beetles and wasps, and all five of those are key types of pollinators and a pollinator. Um, a pollinator is really just any animal that assists in, uh, the reproduction of flowering plant.

It does that by, uh, when it visits a flower, it incidentally picks up some pollen and then when it moves to another flower to get another drink of nectar, ITFers that pollen from one flower to the next and helps the plant, uh, reproduce. And so that’s all we’re talking about when you say pollinator. And I think the important part of this is that a pollinator.

Is not, um, he doesn’t know, it’s a pollinator, a pollinator knows it’s a bee or knows it’s a butterfly and it’s trying to get a meal and complete its life cycle. And it just so happens that flowers have sort of taken advantage of, of these animals in a way that allows those animals to also function as, as, uh, as plant matchmakers.

So we go out on these pollinators safari and we’re looking for the big five and people are skeptical at first. They don’t know necessarily that wasps are pollinators. They think all [00:16:00] wasps are bad. All bees are honey bees. And by the end, we’ve got people catching insects in vials, no nets needed.

They’re coming up to me. They’re like, I think this is a bee because of X, Y, and Z, or I think this is a hover flyer. I’ve never seen this before. And I’ve been living here for 20 years. And it’s so exciting that the, the education switches from me to self discovery, right? Like I’m showing them at first what we’ve got.

And by the end, they’re bringing things to me and, and telling me what they found. Um, and so we’re hoping to, to do Safari’s next year staggered throughout the season, because what we find on labor day is not what we’re going to find on Memorial day. And so give you a chance to come out in the gardens and for some guided exploration.

 I think we have a good shot at finding the big five every time. And we do, we find the big five , um, but it often takes the whole time. Is that a guarantee? Uh, it is, it is almost, I’m not gonna guarantee because you cannot guarantee anything. Um, but I, I guarantee we’ll have a blast.

jessie: It just speaks to how [00:17:00] much people actually really like these Pollinator safaris but Nick will just show up at places and be like, oh, I’m gonna run a poly safari. And I’m like, with who did you set this up ahead of time? He’s like, no, who goes out. People will come. Yeah. Really people love it.

I was out at my field site in Walham and it’s like on a farm. And Nick is like, oh, I see people working at the farm over there. Maybe they want go on a pollinators safari. and they do. Yeah, it’s great.

nick: It’s good.

peter: Not only does that pollinators safari sound fun, but it also sounds like a really powerful way of educating citizens about pollinators flowers, and the natural biodiversity that exists within cities .

It also seems like a really powerful way of doing that because it’s allowing that self discovery, as you said, and allowing people to. Just go and sort of educate themselves in a way. And maybe take some of those lessons and they can do a safari with somebody else.

nick: Exactly, exactly. I know it’s, I know it’s really easy, [00:18:00] um, to sort of be scared of bees. And I think a lot of that sort of stems from how adults respond around bees. And I think, shifting, oh, we don’t need to be scared of bees. Most bees don’t sting.

Uh, no male bees can sting and most female bees are, uh, too focused on their own nests to bother with you. And so sort of the, the myth that, uh, bees are aggressive or, or, uh, out to sting you is just, couldn’t be further from the truth. Um, and so once we dissolve that fear, um, not only in adults, but also in children, then we can really start to get up close.

jessie: It’s pretty amazing to go from being afraid. Like if you tell them yeah. One of the things we’re looking for on this walk is wasps. To go from probably people being like, I don’t wanna find wasps to catching wasps on their own in tubes and be like, wow, I found this one when I caught it with my bare hands.


nick: excited to find the biggest wasp we have. And they’re like, I found this great flag, Digger, wasp, and like, that’s amazing. It it’s, it’s our most charismatic wasp, if you’d ever thought wasp could be charismatic.

peter: No, that’s [00:19:00] like a huge shift in someone’s like mentality in such a short amount of time.

nick: Yeah one of the bees I think that is, um, I guess, most suitable for the self discovery. it’s a be called the squash bee. Um, it’s a solitary bee, meaning the female does everything in the nest herself. She lays all the eggs. She builds the nest and she collects all the food.

She builds her nest underground, like 12 inch tunnel in soils near her favorite and only source of pollen, which is squash plants like zucchini or pumpkins, the ones the really big flowers. And her life cycle is, is amazingly tied to the life cycle of these squash plants, the squash flowers open each just for one day.

And they open before Dawn and she is out there pre Dawn with the flowers, ready to go. And she is, again, she’s not trying to pollinate, she’s just trying to, to get food for her, for her offspring. And so she goes and collects pollen and nectar and goes back underground. And she creates little balls of, of B bread.

It’s called it’s pollen and nectar like [00:20:00] Plato. And she lays an egg on that. And she does like one, one or so eggs every day and now wear the males in all this. Right. She she’s hardworking. Well, the males take a bit lazier lifestyle. Um, and they actually just, yeah, right. Uh, they just wait in the flowers because the nests are female only space.

So males are not allowed underground. Um, and the flower is the best place to find a female because she loves squash so much. And so the males are out there mating, uh, all day long. And then the, by noon, the squash flowers actually close. And the males have nowhere to go, but back in the flower. And so if you grow zucchini or you grow pumpkins, um, in the summer, I encourage you to just peel open the closed squash flowers at the end of the day.

And there will be males dozing inside. Now, remember male bees can’t sting. So there’s nothing to worry about. And it is so adorable because sometimes you have just one lonely male, but other times you have like a little slumber party and there’s like 10 or 12 males all stuffed into this little squash flower that maybe you wanted to stuff with RI Rico.

[00:21:00] But now you realize is actually stuffed with bees and you can’t possibly pick that flower. And, and you see how much of a, a roll and relevance that your garden has in the lives of these bees. Perhaps you thought you were planting pumpkins just for carving or just for pie, but you also realize now you’re planting pumpkins to help a life.

The bee, the squash be completed life cycle. And if this wasn’t a sort of all tied enough, there are bees that depend on squash bees to live. They’re called cuckoo bees and cuckoo bees, um, don’t make their own nests, but rather they lay their eggs in the nests of squash bees, this particular type of, of squash be.

And so if you don’t grow pumpkins for pumpkin pie, then there’s no squash bees that get to use your pumpkins. And there’s no squash B cuckoo bee squash, cuckoo bee, right. That lays its eggs in the nests of, of those squash bees. And so it’s, so it’s so entangled this web of life just in your own backyard mm-hmm

And I think that is a [00:22:00] sort of discovery that we really try to promote with TPI, especially about insects. Right. It’s really easy to sort of, or I guess it’s, it’s more accessible to get excited about colorful birds, but insects. There’s just a different paradigm and a different dialogue about them. And we hope to just sort of shift that.

That’s awesome. You have quite a way of describing the life of bees. It’s pretty amazing. It’s it’s my


nick: Like I love, love watching bees and, um, there are, there are so many secrets that we know about bees, how they live, and I just shared some of them about the squash, but there are so many secrets we don’t know.

And that’s sort of what I love about being a grad student is that I get to, I get paid to dig in sometimes quite literally dig into the lives of, of bees. And it’s a, it’s astonishing how little we know about wild bees, um, given how important they are for pollination of squash or blueberries or apples.

Part of my PhD work is focused on B movement. [00:23:00] So I study a group of ground nesting bees, uh, in sort of a natural place up in New Hampshire. And we look at movement between patches of nesting, nesting individuals. Then I also mentor undergraduates here in Somerville on how bees use gardens.

And so we, we study green sweat bees and sort of all black Digger bees. Um, and we paint the backs of every individual. And so we can tell individuals apart and we go back day after day to sort of piece together the life of these bees. And what we find is that bees are often pretty faithful to particular gardens, but that they do use multiple gardens.

Some of them will switch to a garden only a hundred meters away. Others will fly over a kilometer to get to a new patch. So it looks like gardens in the city can be connected by bee movement and bees. One of the reasons why bees might be so successful in cities is that they are able of, of moving far distances.

┬áBut we still have a lot to know. And that’s one of those black boxes I was referring to earlier that like bee movement, we don’t know nearly the scale or the frequency with which bees make movements. And so that’s what I’m [00:24:00] hoping to uncover. And I study solitary bees, but Jessie studies a whole different group of bees bumblebees.

jessie: I do. Yes. So I know my bumblebees very, very well. Cause I spend a lot of time. Part of my job in the summer is literally just like spending hours and hours watching bumblebees and it’s wonderful.

Um, so there very much my favorite they’re very charismatic and very fuzzy and cute and slow, and I love them.

peter: So these are the bees that most people probably think of and say, be.

jessie: So people usually think of either honey bees or bumblebees and usually makes them up. They say, oh, those fat, yellow and black ones that make honey it’s like they two different bees.

So bumblebees are a very important wild bee species for agriculture. So all, all wild bees are very important for agriculture and supporting ecosystems. But I’d say bumblebees get studied a little bit more than other wild bees because they’re another social bee. When Jackson makes ’em a little bit easier to study.

Um, and they [00:25:00] also are very common on our agricultural fields. Um, and they can be managed in some ways, like there are some commercial bumblebee boxes that you can buy and put into greenhouses. So I think they’re just a little bit more visible than other bees, but very important for agriculture.

They’re the main, uh, pollinators for some of our crops like tomatoes and peppers, um, and apples mm-hmm and they’re just the best, sorry, Nick, for your bees, but I love Bumble

nick: bees.

No, I would’ve to agree. Bubble bees are second to none when it comes to pollination. Yeah. Um, yeah. As you said, tomatoes and chilies, we wouldn’t have them without bumblebees.

jessie: Yeah. Um, and so bumblebees are bigger than honey bees. They. Also live in sort of social nests, but they don’t live in hives, live underground. So bumblebees are mostly underground bees, or sometimes they make their nest in like patches of grass. Um, and they have an annual life cycle where a single queen in the [00:26:00] spring starts a nest underground, usually in an old rodent nest.

And she starts laying eggs all by herself and going out to get flower provisions for them like pollen and nectar. But she has to take care of the first few one. Those first few workers come out and hatch, they can start to support her and she can just chill in her nest for the rest of the season, making more and more bees.

And so usually what we see for most of the season are worker. Bumblebees. These are all females, males can’t forage. They can’t really do much. Um, and they actually aren’t even produced until the very end of the season. So all year you mainly have female bumblebees and they’re out helping us grow our crops and supporting all the flowers around those fields, where wherever they are.

Um, and they are generalists. So they visit any kind of flower. There are some bees that are specialists, so they literally only visit a single kind of flower or a single family of flowers, but not bumblebees. They visit everything. Um, and then in late summer or early fall, the colony stops producing new worker females and starts producing [00:27:00] males.

And those males only produce for very short windows. So they can go out and meet with new Queens that are produced at this time as well. And they’re just sort of kicked outta the nest once they’re made. Um, they also tend to sleep in flowers. So especially when it’s cold out, I love going out to the field and seeing male bumblebees, just kind of like huddled together and very sleepy on flowers.

um, you can like. I sometimes bother them on the flowers and knock the flowers around and they just put an arm up at you and sort of wave you off . Um, but then in the early fall, these new Queens are mat with these new males and then all the bumblebees die, except for this new queen that was produced in the fall.

And once she’s mated, she actually digs a hole for herself and buries herself for the entire winter. And then she’ll come out when it gets warm in the spring. And she starts a nest for the next year. So a lot of my research actually looks at this sort of time when Queens are being produced and need to eat a bunch of food and get ready to [00:28:00] basically hibernate underground.

Mm-hmm because of those Queens don’t survive the winter. Then we do not get bumblebees in the spring cuz she makes all of them.

nick: Wow. Yeah, you could think of it. Like, I mean, and bees need so many different kinds of habitats, right? Like helping to say just plant flowers for bees, but yeah. Flowers support adults, but we also need suitable nesting sites.

And nesting sites for squash bees, which live beneath squash plants in soil is very different than an abandoned rodent burrow that a bumblebee needs to nest in. And not only that, but for bumblebees, they also need a separate hibernation spot that’s undisturbed. And if any, one of these aspects of the life cycle is, is threatened, you could plant all the flowers in the world, but you might still not have as many bumblebees as you used to.

So maintaining landscapes that support the entire life cycle of the, of a, B or a pollinator is, is really the, the only way for, with pollinator conservation. And yet some of those life stages like hibernating Queens, or, uh, like where females nest are, some of the most [00:29:00] poorly understood life stages. Um, and, and it’s not like we only know them for 50 species.

It’s like, we know them for two species, if that.

peter: So if I’m a, a homeowner and have some green space, what would you guys suggest to do?

jessie: If you’re. What, what do I do? How do I help? It sounds like there’s a lot of problems. Mm-hmm, starting a pollinator garden is a great idea. But one of the big parts of that is that you leave pollinator gardens kind of alone. So they aren’t a thing that you should be like, just overly managing, cuz be’s like a space that’s not super disturbed.

Um, so planting a variety of flowers, um, just like leaving the weeds there. If weeds are gonna grow, maybe having a little bit of open dirt space, but you can kind of, you can think about what kind of bees you may want to attract your garden. And that sort of takes you back to looking at what bees are in your neighborhood in the first place.

Um, and at TPI we have lots of guides to actually help [00:30:00] you with deciding. What bees might be in my neighborhood. And what plant should I put out to support those bees? What kind of landscape should I have to support those bees? Not just the flowers themselves, but, um, just having spaces that they could potentially dig underground or leaving holes that might be in the ground.

 Leaving litter around for over wintering insects. So lots of people like to rake their yards and sort of clear things out before the winter hits, but actually just leaving some of your leaf and plant debris around. Provides great sheltering space for a lot of insects, especially in like larval stages.

 You can protect several life, life stages of different insects just by leaving out and not managing your space so much. So

that’s really good news for, um, lazy gardeners then. Yeah. And lazy homeowners, right?

Oh yeah. Definitely let’s leave the leaves. Don’t

nick: need to rake ’em. Yeah. And I, yeah, I just wanna reiterate, like helping pollinators is, is not excessively complicated, uh, and planting [00:31:00] flowers, if that’s what you are into is an amazing way to get started and is actually sort of like the first thing we always recommend is if you wanna help pollinators plant native flowers, these are flowers that are, uh, adapted to new England’s climate.

And not only that, but the native insects we have here are adapted to those plants. And so you’re helping them more by planting native.

jessie: And helping yourself because they require less management. If it’s a plant that’s already adapted to growing here. So it requires less from you and to keep your plants alive.

Yeah. So

nick: some of those, some of those plants, we recommend some of them called, um, uh, wild Bergo or BBO, uh, mountain min, uh, iron weed, golden rods, new England, asters all of those are, are native and beautiful for people and really attractive to pollinators. Um, and then what Jessie was getting at is that second thing is taking that sort of entire lifecycle approach.

So not only planting flowers, but managing your garden in a way that takes into consideration, oh, insects, complete their life cycle in my garden. And there might be adult butterflies over wintering [00:32:00] beneath leaves that I leave, or there might be bees living in the stems. I’d better not, uh, haul those off to the, the compost.

peter: Is there a difference between how people would handle, you know, poll gardens in an urban space versus a suburban or rural environment?

jessie: I don’t think that your approach to pollinator gardening would really have to be that different for urban versus rural space, besides making sure that you choose plants that are appropriate for wherever you live.

Mm-hmm . Um, I am thinking in, in like smaller urban spaces. Sometimes you have to get creative with using the space that you have. Cause a lot of times it’s much more limited, um, and it takes sort of getting your neighbors on board. So I think in an urban space, your emphasis has to be not only on the plants that you’re growing, but letting your neighbors know what your plants are for.

nick: So one is that container gardening is it’s for pollinators is totally possible. If you only have a stoop or a balcony, or even just a window box, there are a lot of native plants that have fairly shallow roots [00:33:00] and you might only need something that’s eight or 10 inches deep to, to get them to grow things like black eyed Susans, or lands leaf Coreopsis or smooth blue Astor are all really suitable options that we’ve had success with growing containers and having pollinators visit them and seeming someone like the unlikeliest of places.

jessie: Even if you all you’re doing is container gardens in your backyard. If that’s all you can do on your, on your front steps, in your apartment, that’s what you do. But, um, one of the big things is that getting people to start pollinator gardens often takes the neighborhood to do it. I think people don’t wanna get this like messy garden in their yard that doesn’t look as good.

But if one person starts at the pollinator garden and they’re telling their neighbor like, oh, check this out. I have all these like, look at this cool Digger wasp that came to visit and all these different pollinators. It actually, it does get people interested. Once one person has done it. If you start spreading the word that way too, it gets more people involved.

And that way you have a bigger impact. So I guess as, as far as. Gardening for pollinators in an urban space, [00:34:00] takes a little bit more outreach to your neighbors to have that sort of connectivity throughout.

nick: We haven’t talked much about it, but pesticide use and sort of unbridled fertilizer use is, is another, uh, scourge against the environment. And, and there’s sort of, uh, across the board pesticides, uh, anything that kills a mosquito or a tick also kills a bee.

And I think that’s one difference between urban areas and rural areas is that it’s a lot easier to apply pesticides over a very large area in rural areas, because you might only own a quarter of an acre in the city, but you might own 10 acres near a big river in, in a rural area. And so wherever you are, uh, TPI definitely encourages eliminating pesticide use, um, and being cognizant of where you source your plants too, because some plants, um, are, are applied with pesticides before you get them at the store.

And so when we have our sales, uh, are plant sales in on father’s day, every year, uh, we have it at the pollinator Plaza. We are growing our [00:35:00] plants, um, from seeds that were produced in the city. We grow them in the Tuft’s greenhouse. Um, and then we, we distribute them, uh, you know, free of pesticides and guaranteed to be good for pollinators.

peter: Um, so the TPIs only been around for three-ish years.

nick: Yeah. We started in 2019. Um, and we have no signs of stopping. Um, that’s great. yeah, we have, well, yeah, Jessie is a third year and night, so she’s gonna continue and we have a new flesh of graduate students coming in.

Um, and so the whole idea is that this is sort of a self-sustaining system. Um, yeah.

jessie: And it’s really nice cause it’s it because we approach pollinator education and awareness and, um, conservation in sort of so many different directions that it really allows everyone to explore the pieces that they. Are sort of their strengths and stuff they’re most interested in mm-hmm so Nick is awesome.

Gardener knows a lot about it. And [00:36:00] so he’s really like helped our gardens hugely expand. I know I really like more community education stuff, so like, we’re gonna go talk to an elementary school tomorrow to talk about seed saving. And that’s the kind of stuff that I really love and more like the community outreach education side of things, especially with kids.

 But we also have people coming in to do art with TPI and, we mentor a ton of undergraduate students and research. So there, there’s just a lot of ways that our grad students can get involved and keep it going and sort of take it in different directions that are still just as impactful.

peter: Speaking about getting involved, what are some ways that, uh, listeners that are maybe U P students currently, or just other grad students that are not in the biology department? Are there ways that they can get involved with TPI?

jessie: Big one is follow us on our social media and come to our events.

nick: Yeah. I, I think that’s coming to our events and showing you’re interested is a great way. Um, and you never know when like new projects arise that we might need a larger group for. Um, and I [00:37:00] think right now just showing, showing interest, um, and coming out is, is a great way. Um, also visit our gardens and take photos, like honestly, one of the best ways to get involved in like an urban pollinator revolution is to kind of take the steps in your own life to discover.

So go to our gardens, take photos. We recommend using a program called iNaturalist, which, um, uses a machine learning algorithm to help you identify the photos. Um, and then you can tag where you saw that photo in the world. And we have a list of the pollinators that have been seen by community members on campus.

And right now we’re over 85 species strong. Wow. Just in our small gardens, um, and our own biodiversity surveys that we’ve done indicate that there’s 30 or 40 more species, um, that we have haven’t been seen yet. Right. And so there’s lots to be found. Mm-hmm , um, everything from sort of green bees, but also Monarch butterflies this year was a banner year for Monarch butterflies in the city.[00:38:00]

They have like two or three generations before they reach Massachusetts. So the over winner in the tall mountains of Mexico in these fur forests, um, and around February, they start, they fly up, uh, to Texas and they lay eggs on milkweeds and that generation emerges and they fly up those, those, those sys, those offs.

Fly up to like Southern Tennessee and Kentucky. They have another generation there and they fly up to New Jersey and they have another generation. They fly up to Massachusetts. So by the time they reach Massachusetts, we’re talking about great, great grandchildren from those that were in Mexico. And then they mate, and they have a generation here.

And then somehow they have this instinct to fly, not just fly south, but fly to the same patch of, of fur forests, um, that their, that their great grandparents came from. Uh, and we actually, scientists don’t know how monarchs find the fur forest. Again. They don’t know, they know how they orient, but they don’t know how they get there.

Um, and what that, what that internal instinct is. [00:39:00] But, you know, from about mid-July all the way through the end of September Monarch, butterflies can be seen flying around the city, bill nectar on, uh, B bomb and things like blazing star and they’ll lay eggs on milkweeds, common milkweed, but also butterfly weed and swamp weed, um, swamp milkweed.

And, uh, yeah, it’s, it’s, they’re so charismatic. They’re so big and UN UN unmistakable. And yet they’re some of the, one of the most conspicuous signals that the landscape is changing is that Monarch populations are in flux too, that some years are worse than others. Um, and there’s an overall trend of fewer than them, fewer, fewer monarchs now than there used to be.

Um, and so as something as common as a Monarch butterfly is feeling the impacts of environmental change. Um, what about all these other insects we don’t know nearly as much about? Yeah,

peter: that’s a really important point. Uh, especially as we are starting to collectively see the effects of environmental change and climate change.

In more drastic ways. Um, I think it’s important to, [00:40:00] to showcase the little ways that, um, things are being impacted right. In our everyday lives. Oh, right. And,

nick: and it’s, and you see it, right. You have a milkweed plant in your garden and you can go out there mm-hmm and with your kid, you can see Monarch caterpillars or a female Monarch laying eggs.

Like it’s possible to see this, this wildlife happening in your own backyard. Um, yeah. And yeah, I feel like we keep reiterating this idea, but we can’t stress it enough that this is one of the best ways, um, to, to learn about insects. Um, and we can tell you a lot of what, what we would do, but at the end of the day, it has to be coming from you.

Like you have to make the decision mm-hmm . Um, and we can give you advice on what to do, but it has to be coming from you. Yeah. Awesome.

peter: Uh, do you have a favorite garden space that you’ve done on

jessie: campus? I mean, I really like the newest garden addition to our pollinator Plaza space. So. I don’t even know how to describe it, but just, we have like a larger kind of [00:41:00] sloped space that we added a walkway through.

We just planted it all last year and it had its first year of flowering where not everything was flowering, but it got pretty big and pretty beautiful. And I think next year it was gonna be like unreal. So I really like that space since you can actually walk through the garden. And where is that again?

That’s at 5 74 Boston

do you have a favorite garden?

nick: Nick? My favorite garden is the, the original garden at 5 74 Boston avenue.

So it’s the three tiered beds. And to me that just before there were, there were like two little Iris plants there and it was vacant. It was just mulch. And in a matter of two years, we like transformed it into this Haven where, of, of both pollinators, pollinators and people. And I, every time people stop and, and take photos, I just walk and buy and I smile.

And it’s just, it’s the best feeling. Um, because something that small is that makes a difference. Um, and one thing I’m excited, one thing that’s great about planting native plants is that so many of them are [00:42:00] perennial, right? So we installed these gardens. We planted them in 20 spring, 2020, and they will keep producing flowers.

Probably for the next five, 10 years, without any new additions, they set seed and they grow their own own new plants. Um, and so the garden is really self-sustaining, you know? Yeah. We do a little bit of weeding to make sure there’s not too many plants that are aggressive and you know, if there’s just trash, we’ll clean it up.

Um, and we’ll, we’ll cut, cut away some brush in, in late spring so that the new flesh looks pretty for, for people to come by. Um, but other than that, the maintenance is really minimal, right? There’s no chemical inputs. There’s really no biotic inputs. We’re not adding anything. Uh, the garden just builds itself.

And I think that’s one of the greatest things. That one thing that I like so much about gardening is how dynamic it is. Right? So when we planted the garden, we were very intentional with like, we want 15 different types of native plants and we picked them because we knew they were good for pollinators.

And we knew they were good for pollinators broadly in the region. But as, as the garden grew. We [00:43:00] found that there were certain plants that were pollinators liked more. We also found that there were certain plants that liked living in the city more than others. And so we sort of let the garden go in the direction it wanted to go.

So we’re not manipulating the garden, we’re not forcing it. We don’t have a design on a sheet of paper that we’re saying the garden must stick to. Um, and so every year is different. This year, the iron, we was just brilliant. And I, I attribute that to a lot of the rain we had, it’s sort of a wetter loving species.

And so next year, if it’s a drier year, well, perhaps the mountain mint will do much better or perhaps the cup plant will do better. And, and it’s the garden response to the environment. And, and that way it’s actually particularly sustainable because we’re not relying on any supply chain or input other than what our own garden makes.

That’s great. And

peter: it’s adaptable to the climates, right? Like when we had a Rainier season, some things thrive more than others and a dryer season. Other things will thrive. Right.

jessie: Yeah, I definitely, I thought that I couldn’t grow anything cuz typically all my house plants die, which is still [00:44:00] true. I don’t know why some of these house plants are

peter: really

nick: picky adapted to like the tropical rainforest.

jessie: Yes. Come to my dark apartment please. Uh, but no, it’s, it’s been amazing to me, so I didn’t do any gardening before TPI and now I do it with TPI and I grow hundreds of plants for research and I just didn’t realize how they take care of themselves, which is something that seems obvious. But like I think a lot of people also have in mind that like, oh, gardening takes so much input and it’s so hard to keep everything going and, and just have to manage it so much.

And you don’t, if you’re, if you’re cool with having different plants come up each year and having just sort of a. It’s not going to be perfectly manicured, but it’s still going to look amazing. Mm-hmm and it gets people’s attention and people wanna know more about your garden. Um, and it really takes so little effort on your part.

Mm. And you can be like, yeah, like this amazing garden that I have, um, I watered all the time and do all these things, but really it’s, it’s, it’s going to do whatever it wants to do once you get in the ground. Mm-hmm and look really good. [00:45:00]

nick: So we’ve set a, we’ve set a lot of tips and we have a little acronym to sum it up.

Oh, great. So that you can remember. So if you wanna save, we love acronyms at U

peter: P

nick: I love it. Yes. So if you want to save bees or other pollinators, we recommend that you use seeds S E E DS. So the first is sustaining native landscapes. So all those native plants, we talked about plant those and encourage, uh, others to grow in your, in your own yard.

The second is taking that entire life cycle approach. So E right, and that is what we were talking about before is make sure you’re supporting all the different life stages, not just the adults that visit flowers. The third is eliminating pesticide.

Uh, the fourth is de discover, um, yeah, go out and find insects and, and pollinators and, and plants. Um, and then S is share, share what you find with others. And if you do those five things intentionally and over and over again, guaranteed, you’ll make a difference. Um, in, in the lives of pollinators and potentially your own life.

I, I used to be terrified of [00:46:00] bees. I, I, I remember running from male carpenter bees when I was younger. How did I know they were male? Because they would dive on my head and they were sort of being territorial. I didn’t know that they were harmless because males can’t sting. And I didn’t realize that they thought I was an intruder on their territory and now sort of slowing down and watching bees.

I can. I can be just in awe of those male carpenter, PE and how, how deliberate and how, uh, tireless they, they, they are in their, in their own labor. And it’s just, it’s opened my world eyes to a whole new world that, that was living under my nose the whole time. Right. I was an undergrad here at Tufts, double jumbo and I, I was here on campus for five years before I realized that there were hundreds of species of bees and pollinators living in Medford and Somerville.

Um, and so when you change the way you look at things, right?

peter: So to what do you attribute that shift [00:47:00] from running away? I mean, I would imagine that was maybe a traumatic, somewhat traumatic experience as a, I don’t know. How old were you? When was I

nick: probably 14. yeah. I was a little too old to running from bees.

You’re gonna be Frank.

jessie: I don’t know. I started, I was still running from bees when I started B research. yeah, I know. I mean, I was not even. Thinking about bees until I was in undergrad and trying to get involved in research. And I went to a plant scientist, asked if I could do something with her. And she’s like, oh, well actually I’ve been wanting to collaborate with this bee scientist.

You’ll work with bees and I was not excited and I did not wanna do it, but it was my only option for research. So I decided to go for it. And I was surveying bees for an entire summer and ended up working with one of the best known be researchers in, in our field. Ty Olston. I didn’t know that until I even finished undergrad and realized like, wow, he’s famous.

Um, but it was amazing. I [00:48:00] was very afraid of bees. I had nightmares about them for the first two weeks of doing research, but honestly, just being around them and realizing that never got stung, I still have not been stung in the field and they actually are very cute. And don’t think anything about you.

You’re not really part of their world. You’re just kind of there and they fly past and they’re happy to get close, but not too close, just being around them and looking at them. You really start to change. Your outlook on them, for sure. I can’t believe I used to be super afraid of them. Um, and I also can’t believe that now let them land on my clothes and touch them and watch them all day.

And it doesn’t bother me. So just looking at them, being around them, immersing yourself in the B world is really a great way to not be afraid of them

nick: anymore. Yeah. I, I felt like the big shift for me was yeah. Beginning to study them and having to sort of try to interpret some of what I was seeing. And I realized that it was really hard to know what a [00:49:00] B was doing because I see the world and we see the world so differently than a BCS the world.

So B see a different spectrum of colors than we do. They are able to see ultraviolet light and we can’t so flowers don’t. Like they do to us for a bee. Um, they also have an incredible, uh, chemical olfactory, uh, sense, so they can smell things that we can’t. If you go up to a flower and you’re like, it doesn’t smell a bee can probably smell it.

There’s a plant called iron weed. It’s my favorite plant of 2021. Uh, and it’s my favorite plant of 2021 because, um, it has this incredibly, uh, close relationship with a solitary bee called the ate Longhorn bee. Now this bee is a specialist. It only visits iron weed and you maybe never heard of iron weed because true.

It’s not a common plant in cities. And yet every garden that we’ve planted iron weed in the ate iron weed bee, or the Longhorn bee shows up, and it’s not coming to these gardens because it saw us planting iron. it’s smelling iron weed from potentially a kilometer or more away, and it’s able to [00:50:00] queue in to these places, right?

So the, uh, the city to a be city to us might smell stinky or full of exhaust fumes, but to a bee, it might smell like these pockets, these hotspot of, uh, of, of flowers. And so that’s why it’s really hard to know what a bee is, is doing because they have a different sensory perception than us. Um, but if you slow down and get to the flowers from a be’s perspective and sort of say, if you watch a bee and see if you can follow individuals that sort of gives you a clue, does the same individual come back over and over again?

Does it go from different flowers, do the same kind of flowers in sequence. Maybe if you go out at night, can you find bees sleeping on flowers or open up the, the squash flower? There’s a great new documentary out on PBS called my garden of a thousand. And it’s some of the best, um, cinematography of solitary bees that I’ve seen.

Um, and it was all shot during COVID in, in this filmmaker’s backyard, in the UK. Wow. And it gives you, uh, never before seeing perspectives [00:51:00] on bees from under, underneath it slows down the, the wing beats of a, of a male. Uh, and I, I couldn’t recommend it more highly to check it out on, on PBS. I definitely

peter: will.

That sounds really cool, especially, I mean, I love nature docs and that’s really cool that it was from this person’s backyard. That’s not often a perspective you see in nature documentaries it’s usually the beautiful wide open spaces, the natural environments.

nick: Well, when I think that perspective makes it really hard for people to get excited about nature around them, because you’re like, well, I’m never gonna go to Africa, right. Or I’m never gonna go to Antarctica mm-hmm . But if you can see the same sort of predator, prey interaction, or the same sort of parental care or a courtship displays that you might see in the TRO.

Happening in your backyard garden. Well then maybe there’s somebody to go see out there.

jessie: Yeah. It really changes your whole, the way you value, just the space around you when you stop thinking of nature as like it’s only those wide open spaces, because that patch of grass where that tree is growing on a sidewalk, [00:52:00] that’s a nature.

it could be something more than just a manicured lawn that’s in this person’s front space. It, it can be a habitat for hundreds of pollinators and animals that are running around. So yeah, I, I think that it really does make you value your space more and really think about beyond just the human experience in your neighborhood.

If you start to think of nature as it is everything that’s around you, it’s not just wherever you have open space. Mm-hmm .

peter: Yeah. And just to tie it back for a minute, seems like both of you that switch in terms of. Thinking about bees or stinging insects differently from being scared of them or having that fear, which most of us to some degree probably grow up, having to feeling confident, being around bees, sting, insects, and things like that is attributed to your studies of the bees and whatnot, like in academia.

Right. Mm-hmm yeah. Um, [00:53:00] are you, are either of you familiar with Janine Binus and biomimicry deep observation? You? No, I can’t say am mm-hmm. Um, so Janine Binus she literally wrote the book about biomimicry. Are you familiar with biomimicry? Yeah. Yeah. Um, so she literally wrote the book about biomimicry. Of course, there have been indigenous people’s in communities doing biomimicry for thousands of years, but so her book was sort of the introduction to biomimicry and all that thought process in terms of how do we look towards nature as sort of the ultimate creator, the ultimate artist, the ultimate engineer.

Designer, et cetera, any problem that we have in society nature is down to solution for it. We need to look towards nature to fix some of our current problems. Uh, and that’s something that when I discovered that I, that sort of led me to my pathway in terms of sustainability and where I am now [00:54:00] and my education or educational path.

Observation is our most powerful tool. Right. And I think a lot of other disciplines can forget that, especially just as community members, or citizens, it’s often really easy to forget that the simplest thing you can do is just expose yourself and observe different things really closely.

And, and you’ll either if it’s by yourself or through working with TPI and going to TPI safari or something like that, um, you can learn more about the small interactions that are taking place around you.

nick: Uh, I, I totally agree. Um, I’m teaching a class this semester. It’s called all about. Uh, I designed the class.

I have like 22 undergrad, uh, students. Nice. Um, and their first assignment was to, to go out and make observations and it it’s in direct response, a reaction to, I felt that there’s not enough curricula devoted to just observing. Yep. Um, so the first step of the scientific process, mm-hmm and it’s often the one that’s glossed over.

Yes. Um, here’s an observation that we’ve already made for you [00:55:00] now. I’ll go complete the process. Mm-hmm . what does it mean to make an observation mm-hmm and over the five weeks the students had to keep their, they had to keep physical journals. I saw amazing growth. They went from not even knowing what a bee looked like to all of a sudden noticing.

I think this might be a, B, or there was a bee in my dorm. Where, where did it come in? They realized it came off of cut flowers, um, and all sorts of, and they, they, I, they made observations a far from Tufts. They went to Alife Brook pathway in Cambridge, and they went to fresh pond. They took their journals when they went to North Carolina and back home to Vermont.

And it was just incredible to see that observation could be a part of their life. Um, and some of them were even like, I think that I might continue this practice of focused observation. Um, and that made me feel really good because I, I think observation is, as you say, it’s such an integral part of any discipline, any field . Is making observations.

jessie: And now we have so many tools available to us so that if you’re not in a classroom or you’re not in a PhD program, [00:56:00] Observation and learning is still available to you. Like the iNaturalist program they talked about for your phones. It’s an app that you can just use if you’re great app. Yeah. If you’re out on your own for a walk and you actually start taking a look at the plants, you’re

peter: walking across and you don’t, what I love about that app is you don’t even need to know anything about nature.

Anything you can take a picture of something and put it up there. And somebody who knows a whole lot about that organism will identify it for you.

jessie: Yeah. So it’s, it’s something that it, I mean, I actually, at the start of COVID, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. So I started going for walks in my neighborhood with iNaturalist and looking at in everybody’s garden and taking pictures of everything.

And I’m not somebody who identifies plants. Well, I now know the April plants in Cambridge , but it was actually beyond just wanting to be like doing something that felt sciencey. Cuz we suddenly couldn’t be in our labs or do anything. It was really just soothing to take my, it was like, I looked forward to my, even if it was 15 minutes that I could get outside and just like, turn off my music.

Yeah. And take my natural step and write in my notebook of what I was seeing. [00:57:00] It was really nice. There’s like a lot of benefits beyond just like it, it never felt like a chore mm-hmm . And so I think that people also tend to think of that as like, well, I have other things that I’d rather be doing than, than like take the time out to do that.

And what am I gonna gain from it? But there’s a lot to be gained beyond just, it’s great to know what’s in your neighborhood and to see the insects. And it’s also just great for your personal wellbeing. Yeah. Being with the bees is great.

peter: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. In your, your class about bees this semester, you’re doing the observational activities.

So what’s the best way to keep up with everything TPI.

nick: Social media @pollinatetufts so Twitter, Instagram, Facebook @pollinatetufts. Okay. Um, and our, you can link to our website, which is


peter: Um, do you all wanna share your personal socials if people wanna reach out to you? Or how do people want to people wanna contact you?

jessie: Yeah, I’m, I’m just at Jessie Thuma on, I think that’s my Twitter handle. [00:58:00]

nick: if, find me I’m at, @ beesearcher so you can, can look me up that way. Nice.

peter: Awesome. Well, thank you both so much.

Any final thoughts before we wrap

nick: up? No, this is really fun conversation. Yeah. When in all these different directions, I love talking about bees

jessie: and great. That was great.

peter: Thank you. Yes. Thank you again.