THE PLIGHT OF THE BUMBLE BEE
Bumble bees represent some of the 20,000 described bee species on our planet. They can be found in a diversity of habitats, ranging from well above the Arctic Circle to the tropical heat of the Amazonia. Bumble bees also happen to provide important ecosystem services by pollinating wild and economically important flowering plants. Despite their importance in sustaining life on our planet, they along with numerous other species, are threatened by human activities. While at USU I had the opportunity to assess the extent of bumble bee decline throughout the United States, and advocate for their conservation to state and federal agencies. However, I think graduate school is also a time to learn how to communicate our craft of choice to a broader audience, not just to academics. For the past 6+ years I have been involved with USU Insect Tours, an insect science education program geared towards preK-6 students in Northern Utah. Through USU Insects Tours I had the opportunity to advocate for bees and other insects to Utah’s young aspiring entomologists through hands on investigations. It is my hope that by getting up close and personal to our six-legged pollinator champions, these young investigators will make decisions in the future that positively impact pollinators, and ultimately the biodiversity of our planet.