Posts Tagged: Donna Billick
It's the Big 4-0 for the Almond Board of California's annual almond industry conference this week.
Some 1000 convention-goers are gathering in the Sacramento Convention Center. The 40th annual conference opened Tuesday, Dec. 11 and runs through Thursday, Dec. 13.
A contingent from the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, is there--including some from chemical ecologist Walter Leal's lab and some from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Many came to hear U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
After all, almonds are California's biggest export. With some 750,000 acres of almonds in production in the state, the National Agricultural Statistics Service is forecasting a record-breaking 2.10 billion meat pounds this year, valued at approximately $3 billion. Eighty-percent of the global supply of almonds is grown in California, and about 70 percent of California’s crop is marketed overseas.
Over at the Laidlaw facility, you can't help but notice the sign that graces the entrance. The work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis, it shows a skep, honey bees, DNA strands, and almond blossoms.
Then if you walk a few steps east of the facility to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, you'll run into the gigantic worker bee sculpture, also the work of Donna Billick. It's a six-foot-long morphologically correct worker bee, right down to the wax glands.
If it appears to be on a pedestal, that's the way it should be. Honey bees, those tiny agricultural workers, pollinate one-third of the food we eat.
As for the almonds, the pollination season begins around Valentine's Day. The orchards will be buzzing. It takes two hives per acre to pollinate California's almond crop.
Sign at the entrance to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis depicts honey bees, a skep, DNA and almond blossoms. It is the work of Donna Billick of Davis (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Fog shrouds the bee sculpture in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bee working an almond blossom. She's packing her pollen load. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Art made of fungus?
Tales about insects?
That will all take place at “Organism,” an art show fusing art, science and technology, including insect art by young entomologists on the University of California, Davis campus
The date: Tuesday night, Dec. 11.
The time: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The place: the Old Nelson Gallery in the UC Davis Art Building.
The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
"Organism" also will include visual, sound, live performance, and a look at a Cabinet of Natural Curiosities (see example on Wikipedia).
“This is a two-part show,” said curator Anna Davidson, a doctoral candidate who teaches for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, which was launched in 2006 by entomologist Diane Ullman and self-described “rock artist” Donna Billick.
Part One will spotlight artworks created by both artists and scientists on the UC Davis campus. Participating scientists will include Ciera Martinez, Anna Davidson, Brad Townsly, Dan Chitwood and Diane Ullman. Among the artists: Daniel Brickman, May Wilson, Evan Clayburg, Daniel Mendoza, Sarah Julig, Dylan Wright, Donna Billick and Emily Schleiner.
Part One also includes performance art by Allison Fall and a dance performance by Linda Bair Dance Company.
Part Two of the show will feature 15 students from the Entomology 1 class, which is housed in the Art Science Fusion program. “These 15 students have been writing curious tales about insects and illustrating those stories through their art pieces,” Davidson said. “The concept behind their art pieces is based on Cabinets of Curiosities, a pre-Linnaeus collection of curiosities made popular among the affluent in 14th and 15th century Europe.”
“During this show you will experience glow in-the-dark organisms, art made of fungus, large-scale installation, live performance, and sound, art and tales about insects that are so curious they are almost unbelievable!” she said.
The 15 students include Christina Ball, Edna Chen, Alejandra Gonzalez, Whitney Krupp, Danielle Laub, Nina Liu, Huong Nhu Mai, Amy McElroy, Brenda Nguyen, Lawrence Nguyen, Meredith Scarborough, Alison Stewart, Kevin Tran and Hsin Hwei Tsou.
For more information, contact Anna Davidson at email@example.com. She is a Ph.D student in the Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group, Department of Plant Sciences.
Entomology student Whitney Krupp at work on her display for the show, "Organism." (Photo courtesy of Anna Davidson)
Close-up shot of Whitney Krupp's art-to-be for the Organism show. (Photo courtesy of Anna Davidson)
Nature's Gallery, a ceramic mosaic mural installed in the UC Davis Arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Garden, is gathering lots of visitors--and lots of donors.
This amazing mural by the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program, directed by entomologist/artist Diane Ullman and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, is comprised of more than 140 tiles, all hand-crafted by students, staff, faculty and community members.
Earlier showcased in the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., where it drew more than 300,000 visitors, it is now "home sweet home" in the UC Davis Arboretum.
The good folks at the UC Davis Arboretum are seeking donors for the remainder of the plants and insects depicted on the mural. It's sort of like "Adopt a Bug" or "Adopt a Plant." Donors' names, or names memoralizing loved ones, are engraved on the wall.
So, back to the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). The art work is beautiful, but no one has stepped forward to adopt it. Also available are the giant crane fly (Holorusia rubiginosa), the white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata), a scarab (Bolbelasmus horni), and the meadow spittle bug (Philaenus spumarius).
Our family scooped up the shining leaf chafer beetle (Paracotalpa puncticollis), but only because the honey bee (Apis mellifera), our favorite insect, was unavailable. "The honey bee was among the first to go," Ullensvang said. UC Davis alumnus Dr. Jonathan Bowman donated it in memory of his parents.
If you prefer plants to insects, there are a few plants available: acanthus (Acanthus mollis), Cypriot woundwort (Sideritis cypria), black mondo grass (Opiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'), and Euonymous or “Emerald ‘n Gold” (Euonymus fortunei). (See what's available.)
So, if you're looking for a perfect holiday gift (good cause and lasting legacy), there's an Argentine ant-donor tile that could have your name on it.
Unless, of course, you'd prefer the meadow spittle bug...
Kathleen Socolofsky, director of the UC Davis Arboreteum, at a ceremony honoring the donors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Colorful plants and insects grace Nature's Gallery. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Are you ready for the Great Bee Count?
It's happening Saturday, Aug. 11.
You're encouraged to be a "citizen scientist" and count the bees in your backyard or garden over a 15-minute period and to watch or listen to a national online video broadcast at http://www.yourgardenshow.com/bees between 8 and 10 a.m., Pacific Time. (Those are Pacific times; consult the website for the schedule in other time zones.)
Brady, a cultural entomologist and journalist from Davis, describes the event as a special “BEE” broadcast (Bee curious, Bee aware and Bee a good neighbor).
The Great Bee Count also will feature Brady’s footage of the UC Davis Department of Entomology's Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road.
The online video broadcast also will include a question-and-answer session moderated by Ian Cook.
What's it all about? The program is about creating a discussion and activity forum for new or experienced beekeepers, and “all of us who would like to learn more about bees and bee conservation, pollinators and backyard citizen science,” according to the YourGardenShow website.
The schedule (Pacific Time), subject to change:
8 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Emmet Brady, host, interview with Gretchen Le Buhn, San Francisco State University (from the first-ever Bee-a-Thon)
Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology
Robbin Thorp, native pollinator specialist and emeritus professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology
Neal Williams, pollinator ecologist and assistant professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology
Gretchen LeBuhn / Great Sunflower Project
Eric Mader – Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Kim Flottum – Editor of Bee Culture journal
Jennifer Berry - Apiculture specialist at the University of Georgia.
9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Gretchen LeBuhn / Fred Bove Great Sunflower Project
Kim Flottum – Editor of Bee Culture journal
Jim Fisher – NYC BeeKeepers
Neal Williams, UC Davis Entomology
Robbin Thorp, UC Davis Entomology
Eric Mussen, Extension Apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology
9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Jennifer Berry - Apiculture Specialist at the University of Georgia
Arnold Van Vliet - Biologist at Wageningen University, Netherlands
Stephen Buchmann - North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
Gretchen Le Buhn, San Francisco State University (from the first-ever Bee-a-Thon)
You may remember Brady for several reasons.
(1) Last year he hosted the first-ever Bee-A-Thon, a global online marathon dedicated to raising awareness about honey bees and other pollinators.
(2) He's an innovator in the emerging field of cultural entomology
(3) He's the creator of the popular radio program, Insect News Network (.com), now based in Davis. It airs every Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m on KDRT 95.7 FM.
A founding member of the Biomimicry Guild Speakers Bureau, Brady has lectured at seven universities across India. More locally, he co-founded the San Francisco Bay Area Green Tours. And now, he's authoring the Wikipedia entry for cultural entomology and a book entitled "Humvees and Honeybees: An Introduction to Cultural Entomology."
His passion for entomology extends to his given name, "Emmet."
It means “ant” in Gaelic.
Honey bee nectaring in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Emmet Brady is an innovator in the field of cultural entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Eye-catching zinnias grace the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, the half-acre bee friendly garden planted in the fall of 2009 next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis.
The long-stemmed vibrant flowers attract honey bees from the Laidlaw apiary, neighboring bees, and assorted other pollinators, including sunflower bees (after all, zinnias belong to the sunflower family, Asteracae).
Last year the haven attracted the attention of Australian author Mark Leech, who was researching a book, Planting for Pollen and Nectar Supply for the Australian Rural Industries R&D Corp.
Leech, who lives in Lanceston, Tasmania, Australia, so far holds the record of traveling the greatest distance to visit the garden. The previous record-holder: beekeepers from Kentucky.
"The book," Leech wrote, "is to encourage planting for bee forage across the landscape from urban to the rural environment and all climate zones."
If you want to tour the garden, it's open from dawn to dusk--no admission. The key goals of the garden, the jewel of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the California Center for Urban Horticulture, are to provide bees with a year-around food source for the Laidlaw bees and other pollinators; to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees; to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own; and to provide research opportunities.
Volunteer gardeners meticulously tend the garden every Friday morning. Sometimes you'll see them planting and watering on the weekends.
The art work in the haven is magnificent. Donna Billick of Davis, a self-described rock artist, created the 6-foot long ceramic sculpture of a worker bee. She and entomologist/artist Diane Ullman co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, and spearheaded the art projects in the garden. The art itself is a magnet.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, monitors the garden for bees. To date, he's logged 70 different species of bees.
And some of them he found on zinnias.
Honey bee nectaring on a zinnia in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee foraging on a zinnia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Circling a zinnia blossom, a honey bee seeks food for her colony. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)