Posts Tagged: Donna Billick
It's a glorious day, the first day of spring, and what better time to mark the occasion by visiting the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive?
Mother Earth, a mosaic ceramic sculpture by talented Donna Billick of Davis, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, overlooks a thriving garden populated with honey bees, butterflies, sweat bees, syrphid flies, and ladybugs.
Today we saw the mournful dusky-wing butterfly (Erynnis tristis), the first of the year. (How ironic a butterfly with such a sad name would be in the garden the first day of spring!) The more colorful painted ladies (Vanessa cardui) arrived earlier this month. (See the Central California butterfly monitoring site of Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis for more information on butterflies and his research.)
The UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery attracts scores of pollinators with such plants as ceanothus, salvia, California fuchsia, cut-leaf lilac, rosemary, bulbine and Spanish lavender.
Meanwhile, the officials at the teaching nursery are gearing up for their next public plant sales, set for three Saturdays: April 5, April 26 and May 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Garden and irrigation experts will offer guidance for what to plant in your garden, including the Arboretum All-Stars, and offer advice on drought-related resources. A plant doctor clinic is also planned. (Members say 10 percent on plant sales.)
While you're browsing through the plants, don't overlook the pollinators! Indeed, they may just nudge you into buying a specific plant...
A honey bee foraging on ceanothus in the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A painted lady, Vanessa carduii, finds a cut-leaf lilac, Syringa × laciniata, quite attractive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Check out the pollen on this honey bee foraging on ceanothus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A mournful dusky-wing butterfly (Erynnis tristis) on Spanish lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Mother Earth, a mosaic ceramic sculpture by Donna Billick of Davis, overlooks the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A torrent of emotions on the face of Mother Earth, the work of artist Donna Billick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you plant a bottlebrush in your yard, you'll experience a brush with kindness.
This time of year there's not much food for honey bees to eat. Bottlebrush, in the genus Callistemon and family Myrtaceae, fits the bill.
We captured this image Oct. 16 at the Häagen-Dazs Bee Haven, a bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, west of the central campus. The half-acre garden, planted in the fall of 2009, serves as a year-around food source for the bees at the nearby Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Faciity, as well as other pollinators, raises public awareness of bees, and provides visitors with ideas of what to plant in their own gardens. Admission to the garden, open from dawn to dusk, is free. If you want a guided tour (a nominal fee is charged), contact Christine Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bee-utiful Miss Bee Haven, a six-foot long ceramic mosaic sculpture by Donna Billick of Davis, anchors the garden. The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, directed by Donna Billick and entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, has kindly provided a plethora of art, the work of their students in Entomology 1. Think decorated bee boxes at the entrance, a native bee mural on the tool shed, ceramic mosaic planters filled with flowers, and native bee condos for leafcutter bees and blue orchard bees.
The bottlebrush fits in well. Native to Australia, this plant resembles--you guessed it--a bottlebrush, the kind of tool you'd use to clean a baby bottle or an insulated bottle. Most flower heads are red, but they can also be yellow, orange, white or green, depending on the 34 species.
The bottlebrush is a long and late bloomer, to be sure. But a welcome one at that.
Honey bee on a bottlebrush at the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This is Miss Bee Haven, art work by Donna Billick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
So, get ready for Bee-a-Thon 3!
The free multimedia event will begin online with a series of videos about honey bees and other members of the Microcosm, including videos created by Brady and clips from previous Bee-a-Thons.
UC Davis will be represented by Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and entomologist/artist Diane Ullman and artist Donna Billick, co-founders and co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. Mussen, a member of the department since 1976, is world-renowned for his honey bee expertise. Ullman is the associate dean of undergraduate academic programs in the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and a professor of entomology.
Billick is a self-described rock artist whose work has been shown throughout the world. She created the "Miss Bee Haven" ceramic mosaic sculpture in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, and the sign that graces the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Among the others to be interviewed will be Kim Flottum, longtime editor of Bee Culture magazine; Ria de Grassi, director of federal policy, California Farm Bureau; Eddie Dunbar, founder of the Insect Sciences Museum of California; Celeste Ets-Hokin, creator of the Pollinator Gardens at Lake Merritt, Oakland; and Mike Somers, state director of Pesticide Watch and the Pesticide Watch Education Fund.
The schedule includes:
- a pollination fundraising luncheon, with a honey-inspired menu, from noon to 1 p.m. at Monticello Seasonal Cuisine, 630 G St. (not broadcast).
- fruit presentations from 1 to 1:30 p.m. at the Davis Food Co-Op, 620 G St.; (not broadcast)
- a live broadcast from 2 to 4 p.m. on Davis Community Television public access Channel 15
- a radio/video feed from KDRT, 95.7 FM, from 4 to 6 p.m.
- BATMAP (Bee-a-Thon Monster After Party) billed as the world’s first Pollinator Party from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Davis Media Access, 1623 Fifth St., and featuring music by Eminent Bee. Admission is free, but guests must come adorned as an insect, spider or flower.
- a lounge chat from 10 p.m. to midnight at deVere’s Irish Pub, 217 E St.
Brady says the art-science event is designed to ignite a community about the full story about honey bees and other pollinators — "not just the science, but the art, the anthropology, the technology and design, the pop culture."
“The interdependence we have with insects — especially bees — is profound and complex and most people are only discussing half the story," said Brady, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hiram (Ohio) College. "The key word is biocomplexity — how human behavior fits into the global ecology. It’s also about how insects inspire and amaze our society. That will all be covered on the show.”
Brady described the Bee-a-Thon as timely; Time magazine just published a cover story on “beepocalpyse.”
We know Emmet Brady to be passionate about honey bees. And we know that the Bee-a-Thon will be educational, informative and entertaining.
When Brady talks about the "wonderful world of pollinators," he's thinking of the simple things we take for granted, the ABCs, if you will.
A honey bee on an Apple.
A honey bee on a Begonia.
A honey bee on a Cucumber.
Honey bee on an apple blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee on a begonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee on a cucumber blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Saturday, Aug. 17 is National Honey Bee Day and it's time for a tribute, a salute and a cheer, all combined into one: Go, bees!
We're glad to see concerned citizens, organizations and businesses contributing to bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California, Davis.
State Regent Debra Jamison adopted the motto, “Bees are at the heart of our existence” and vowed to support research to help the beleaguered bees.
“Every state regent has a fund-raising project; I chose honey bees,” said Jamison, whose first name, Debra, means “bee” in Hebrew. “I have had a lifelong love and respect for bees and I spent a lot of my childhood watching them, attracting them with sugar water, catching and playing with them and even dissecting them during a time when I imagined myself to be a junior scientist.”
“Back in those days, there was an abundance of bees, usually observed by this kid in her family’s backyard full of clover blossoms—something you rarely see any more due to spraying of pre-emergents and other weed killers.”
The funds are earmarked for the lab of bee scientist/assistant professor Brian Johnson. His graduate student, Gerard Smith, researches the effect of pesticide exposure in the field on honey bee foraging behavior, and graduate student Cameron Jasper studies the genetic basis of division of labor in honey bees.
Then just last week Häagen-Dazs, a strong supporter of bee research, and the name behind the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis, announced it would donate $5 to UC Davis bee research for every download of its Häagen-Dazs Concerto Timer app--up to $75,000.
The way it works, you download the free app at I-Tunes with your I-Phone or I-Pad. You remove your carton of Häagen-Dazs premier ice cream from the freezer and point your I-Phone or I-Pad at the lid. Voila! Two minutes of concerto music, and that's just the right amount of time for your ice cream to soften or temper.
Häagen-Dazs, besides its continuing, generous support of the garden, funded the Häagen-Dazs Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship to enable virus researcher Michelle Flenniken to study the viruses that plaque honey bees.
Then there's the group of donors that came forth to make the bee garden happen. The garden, located next to the Laidlaw facility on Bee Biology Road, was planted in the fall of 2009 as a year-around food source for the Laidlaw bees and other pollinators, as a way to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees, and to provide visitors with ideas of what to plant in their own gardens. Donors? You can see their names on the donor page of the Laidlaw facility website. They include the garden designers (Ann F. Baker Donald Sibbett, Jessica Brainard and Chika Kurotaki); landscape contractor Cagwin & Dorward; and Wells Fargo, which funded the bee-utiful bee sculpture in the haven created by Donna Billick of Davis.
Youth worried about the plight of the honey bees came forth to help. Marin County resident Sheridan Miller began supporting bee research at age 11 and continues to do so through various fundraising projects. She's in high school now--and guess what? She's a beekeeper, too.
Periodically, people ask how to donate to UC Davis Bee Research. Just as Häagen-Dazs has an app for that (a concerto timer), the department has a donor page for that. Folks can make their choice(s). This page lists donors who supported the haven at its inception; more names will be added soon. There's also an online donor button on the Laidlaw home page.
Meanwhile, Saturday, Aug. 17 is National Honey Bee Day and a time to make our voices heard. Can't you just hear the queen bees piping?
Honey bee heading toward tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Italian honey bee nectaring lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Worker bee sculpture, "Miss Bee Haven," by Donna Billick of Davis, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion. This anchors the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Then just add bees. Ceramic bees.
Northern California artist Donna Billick and UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman, co-founders and co-directors of the 16-year-old UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, have launched a hands-on educational, bee-awareness program called "Miss Bee Haven" in which participants sculpt ceramic bees for their garden or home.
"We're trying to make a difference in supporting hard-working bee populations around the world by creating a permanent ceramic tribute to them," said Billick, who is also a beekeeper. She keeps four bee hives on her property just outside the city of Davis.
Ullman is the associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and a professor of entomology. Billick, a self-described rock artist, directs the Billick Rock Art and Todos Artes, creating large-scale public art.
They're inviting people of all ages, from children to senior citizens, to sculpt a bee with clay and glaze as a "handmade tribute to our pollinators, the bees."
She added: "This is a strategy where learning about bees is passed onto a community of people by a team of artists and scientists that use the medium of clay to teach. The intention is to assist the learners to make a beautiful clay sculpture of a bee."
The bees are structurally correct, from the wax glands to the pollen basket to the sting. Participants form a bee with clay and paint it. Then the bees are fired in a ceramic kiln to be "a permanent rock-hard tribute to our bee pollinators." A metal rod holds the bee upright for placement in a flower bed, potted plant or vase.
"They're beautiful," said Queen Turner, head of the beekeeping section at the Ministry of Agriculture in Botswana. Turner, who recently completed a 10-month academic mission as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow, found time to create two bees at Billick's studio before heading back to her native country. She treasures them.
As she was molding them, Turner said she felt "one" with the bees.
Billick, the artist who created the six-foot-long worker bee sculpture that anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, said the Miss Bee Haven project "serves as a response" to the colony collapse disorder (CCD) that is adversely affecting the entire world.
"Our relationship with our bee populations is in danger and in need of attention; bee awareness is our mission," Billick said. "The mission is to identify with bee culture inside the hive, and the bees outside the hive--the field bees that serve as pollinators."
To increase public awareness of honey bees, Billick and Ullman are providing the ceramic bee-making sessions to community organizations, groups, clubs and schools or "basically, anyone who wants to make a bee."
To date, the reaction has been fantastic, Billick said. "It is an educational experience and one that creates heartfelt awareness and appreciation for our smallest agricultural workers, the honey bees."
Some of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program's work, fusing art with science, graces the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. The half-acre bee friendly garden is located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Laidlaw research facility.
More information on setting up workshops to create ceramic bees is available from Billick at email@example.com or (530) 219-5918 or Ullman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Miss Bee Haven Project starts with a lump of clay. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Special tools are used. The hole is for a metal rod. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Paint is added next. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Wings receive special treatment. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Almost ready to fire in the kiln. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The finished product: a ceramic bee on a metal rod. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)