Posts Tagged: Donna Billick
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)
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)