Posts Tagged: Donna Billick
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)
Staff research associate/beekeeper Elizabeth Frost of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, earlier this year planted a pollinator patch in front of the facility--and what an eyecatcher it is.
She selected California golden poppies, lupine and foxgloves, among other choices. When spring emerged, the Laidlaw facility never looked so brilliant! Especially in front of the Laidlaw ceramic sign created by Donna Billick of Davis.
Frost posted a "Pollinator Habitat" sign in front that reads: "This area has been planted with a range of flowering native plants to provide high quality habitat for native bees and other pollinators. To learn how you can create good habitat for pollinators, please visit www.xerces.org.
Frost, a UC Davis graduate who joined the bee lab in 2008 and worked with bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, recently accepted a position on the Honey Bee Tech-Transfer Team, part of the Bee Informed Partnership. So, starting Sept. 1 Frost will be based at the Cooperative Extension office in Butte County.
What is the Bee Informed Partnership? To quote from the website, "It's an extension project that endeavors to decrease the number of managed honey bee colonies that die over the winter."
"Since the winter of 2006 - 2007, overwintering colonies in the US have died in large numbers. Affected beekeepers span the entire spectrum of the industry: migratory beekeepers to stationary beekeepers; and commercial beekeepers, part-time beekeepers, to backyard beekeepers. Migratory and stationary beekeepers alike have, on average, lost 30% or more of their overwintering colonies over the last several years. These losses are unsustainable. If they continue, they threaten not only the livelihoods of beekeepers who manage bees, but the livelihood of farmers who require bees to pollinate their crops."
Check out the Bee Informed team! And read their comments on why they like working with bees!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...er, the Laidlaw facility...the pollinators are populating the poppies. On any given day, you can see honey bees, drone flies, hover flies, dragonflies and butterflies.
Plant it and they will come.
Beekeeper Elizabeth Frost in front of the pollinator patch she planted. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Flame skimmer dragonfly rests on an unopened poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Drone fly crawls up a petal. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee foraging on a California golden poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When TED extends an invite, that's a high honor.
Scientists-artists Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, have been invited to speak at the second annual TEDx program hosted at the University of California, Davis.
The theme of the daylong program, set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 19 in Room 1100 of Social Sciences and Humanities Building, is “The Power of Perspective."
Ullman and Billick are among some 14 speakers invited to discuss their research, discoveries or perspectives, which are meant to inform, enlighten and inspire. Each will speak for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes of fame! (Yes, it's all sold out but it will be livestreamed.)
The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program "is a pioneering program in the use of an art-science fusion paradigm in undergraduate education and community outreach," Ullman explains.
You can see the program's amazing work around campus, including the exquisitely beautiful Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural on Garrod Drive, and the earthy bee art in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road.
Billick, a self-described rock artist whose work is exhibited in many countries of the world, will speak at 3:30 p.m. on "You See. Manifesting the Nature of Education." In addition to being the co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, Billick is the director of Billick Rock Art, based in Davis, and the director of Todos Artes in Baja.
Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will speak at 3:45 p.m. on “Journey into the Art/Science Borderland: Transformations in Teaching and Learning.”
So, what is TED? It's an acronym that stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design.” It's basically a global set of conferences providing “riveting talks by remarkable people," according to its website. Launched in 1984 in Monterey, Calif., TED shares and showcases the talks globally.
TEDx, created in the spirit of TED's mission's "ideas worth spreading,” is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. These opportunities are intended to spark deep conversations and connections. Indeed, this is participation at its best.
TEDx sponsors charge an attendance/participation fee for the daylong programs (the UC Davis event will include lunch and demonstrations), but the webcasts may be viewed on the internet for free.
When Ullman and Billick present their programs fusing art with science, their work will gain a scope never before imagined.
That's good for science. That's good for art. And that's good for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and the UC Davis campus as a whole.
Diane Ullman is right at home as a scientist and an artist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Artist-scientist Donna Billick with her sculpture of "Miss Bee Haven" at the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
You may remember hearing about the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program project when it was displayed in the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2007.
Nature's Gallery drew raves then and it's drawing raves now.
It's a mosaic mural of 140 interlocking ceramic tiles depicting plants and insects. Now it's in its "forever" home--the UC Davis Arboretum's Ruth Storer Garden, located on Garrod Drive. It anchors what is to be Nature's Gallery Court.
A grand opening is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 9.
The mosaic mural attracted more than 300,000 visitors when U.S. Botanic Garden showcased it. The mural inspired many a visitor to become a gardener, many a gardener to become an artist, many an artist to become a scientist, and many a scientist to become an artist.
Handcrafted by UC Davis staff, faculty and community members, it is art you can study and science you can decipher. The colors, the shapes, the plants, the insects--they're all there.
Its installation in the Storer Garden is nearing completion, according to Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. The last remaining part: the donor tiles on the donor wall.
Donors may contribute either $500 for an insect tile (6x8 inches) or $1500 for a plant tile (16x21 inches). Each tile will be inscribed with the scientific name of the insect or botanical name of the plant, along with the donor name(s). At the onset, 76 plant tiles and 54 insect tiles were available, but as of Friday, April 27, only a few remain. (See website for information on availability or contact Suzanne Ullensvang, resource development manager at (530) 752-8324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tiles can be a fitting tribute to the memory of an avid gardener or just a public way to support art and science as one entity.
As its name implies, the Art-Science Fusion Program merges scientists with artists. It includes design faculty, science faculty, museum educators, professional artists, and UC Davis students.
You won't find a more passionate duo of science/art leaders than Ullman and Billick. Ullman, a professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, serves as associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. And, Ullman is an artist in her own right. Billick, who holds two UC Davis degrees--a bachelor's degree in genetics and a master's degree in fine arts--is a self-described "rock artist." Among her work: the morphologically correct ceramic bee sculpture in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis.
The garden is named for Ruth Risdon Storer, Yolo County’s first pediatrician who loved both medicine and plants. Designed for year-round color with low water use and low maintenance, it includes many Arboretum All-Stars.
Come June 9, the public will celebrate another "All-Star"--Nature's Gallery.
Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural celebrating insects and plants, is now at home in the Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum, on Garrod Drive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Aethionema schistosum or fragrant Persian stonecress with Epilobium canum or hummingbird trumpet. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When you listen to a rainforest, what do you hear? What does it tell you?
Those who attend the free public event, “Mentawai: Listening to the Rainforest,” on Sunday, April 22 on the UC Davis campus will find out.
The unique art/science fusion program, held appropriately on Earth Day, will be presented at 7 p.m. in the UC Davis Main Theatre. Doors open at 6:30. The event is affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance and the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
The program is the work of scholar/performer/composer Linda Burman-Hall, professor of music/ethnomusicology at UC Santa Cruz, and biologist Richard Tenaza, professor of biological sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton.
Tenaza's UC Davis connection: he received his doctorate in zoology from UC Davis in 1974.
Burman-Hall will present an electronic sound collage composition and videography, coupled with Tenaza’s field recordings and photography of threatened and endangered species in Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands, located more than 100 miles west of Sumatra.
In the abstract, Burman-Hall asks: “What does the rainforest tell us about ourselves and the world? In the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, wildlife communicates using a complete spectrum of sound that exceeds the range and timbre of a western orchestra. More than 50 meters overhead, female gibbons sing expressive duets in the tree-tops. Hundreds of unique species of birds, frogs, and insects also call and chorus, and in the midst of this sonorous world live indigenous tribes who have listened to the rainforest and existed harmoniously with its flora and fauna for millennia.”
“Mentawai, Listening to the Rainforest, is a extraordinary opportunity to enhance environmental literacy,” said artist Donna Billick, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program. “Listening engages all our senses to a heightened awareness that brings consciousness into the present moment. This approach to research, using sound image and videography, is as good as it can be. I applaud Linda Burman-Hall and Richard Tenaza for drifting out into the Art/Science borderland to bring back the Mentawai gifts.”
Billick, a noted artist who created the six-foot-long bee sculpture in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, will be one of the respondents (asked for their views) following the presentation. Other respondents are UC Davis faculty members Lynne Isbell, professor of anthropology; Andrew Marshall, associate professor of anthropology; Sarah Hrdy, professor emerita of anthropology, Henry Spiller, associate professor of music (ethnomusicology).
The program will showcase wildlife of the rainforest. Tenaza, a wildlife biologist, photographer, world traveler and adventurer, has conducted research in the Arctic, Antarctica, Africa, South America, China, and throughout Southeast Asia with a focus on Indonesia. He specializes in primates and has worked extensively to document and preserve Kloss's gibbon (Hylobates klossii) of Mentawai.
And insects? Among the Mentawai insects Tenaza has photographed are nasute termites and assorted butterflies, including the Malay Lacewing (Cethosia hypsea) and The Cruiser (Vindula erota).
All in all, it promises to be "fantastic," says entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, who does triple duty as (1) professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (2) associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and (3) the co-director and co-founder of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
Malay Lacewing butterfly (Cethosia hypsea). Photographed by Richard Tenaza and identified by professor/butterfly expert Arthur Shapiro of UC Davis.
Nasute termites. Photographed by Richard Tenaza and identified by research scholar/insect photographer Alex Wild of the University of Illinois.