New England bee enthusiasts will head to Cheshire County in mass for the 2018 Annual New England Bee Bioblitz organized by the University of New Hampshire Bee Lab and supported by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station. The event takes place at Pisgah State Park June 22-24, 2018, and is free and open to the public.
The Bee Bioblitz is organized by experiment station researcher Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences. Rehan is conducting the experiment station-funded research project “Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Bee Health” that is assessing for the first time the Granite State’s bee species. Now in its fourth year, the Bee Bioblitz has provided critical information that has allowed Rehan and her lab to be the first to assess the state’s native bee population as well as conclude that the state has seen a drastic decline in bumble bees.
The goals of the Bee Bioblitz are to document the diversity of bee species in the state, with a particular focus on native bees; connect bee researchers across New England; and demonstrate bee surveys and research techniques to interested members of the public and students.
“The aim of our overall research is to restore and rejuvenate healthy plant pollinator habitats to increase local pollinator populations. By educating New Hampshire municipalities, farmers, and policy makers about native pollinators and habitat preferences, we can encourage the regional and national authorities to create and maintain native bee habitats,” Rehan said.
Bees are important pollinators of food crops and natural ecosystems. The value of pollination to agriculture is estimated at more than $200 billion a year worldwide. The abundance of and diversity of pollinators are declining in many agricultural landscapes across the United States. Given this importance, widespread declines in pollinator diversity have led to concern about a global pollinator crisis. The National Research Council has called for regional, national, and international monitoring programs to allow tracking the status and trends of pollinators.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Pisgah State Park in Winchester includes more than 13,300 acres of rough forested terrain, encompassing a complete watershed north of the Ashuelot River. Within the Cheshire County towns of Winchester, Chesterfield and Hinsdale, the park protects seven ponds (popular for fishing), four highland ridges and numerous wetlands. The area's 21 square miles and six trailheads make it the largest property in the New Hampshire state park system.
The home base for the event will be the Ashuelot River Campground. Basic campsites and cabins are available; please contact the campground directly for any bookings. There are indoor showers and restrooms on site. Attendees must provide their own food.
Permits are required for collecting on public lands so attendees should contact Rehan if they are interested in participating. For more information, visit http://www.rehanlab.com/bioblitz.html. Those interested in attending or needing additional information should contact Sandra Rehan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This material is based upon work supported by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, through joint funding of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 1004515, and the state of New Hampshire.
Note: Sandra Rehan is no longer with the University of New Hampshire as of May 2019.
Founded in 1887, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is UNH’s original research center and an elemental component of New Hampshire's land-grant university heritage and mission. We steward federal and state funding, including support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to provide unbiased and objective research concerning diverse aspects of sustainable agriculture and foods, aquaculture, forest management, and related wildlife, natural resources and rural community topics. We maintain the Woodman and Kingman agronomy and horticultural research farms, the Macfarlane Research Greenhouses, the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center, and the Organic Dairy Research Farm. Additional properties also provide forage, forests and woodlands in direct support to research, teaching, and outreach.