Honor the bees

We've all heard the worrisome reports recently about the disappearance of honey bees to a mysterious malady known as Colony Collapse Disorder. While that's obviously bad news for bees and those of us who depend on the crops they pollinate, it does offer a good opportunity to better educate ourselves about the important ecological role pollinators play.

To that end, this Sunday, June 24 marks the start of National Pollinator Week, sponsored by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and the Coevolution Institute. There will be events taking place all week long throughout the country, including several events taking place across the South, where colony losses have been widespread:

* This Sunday, June 24, the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia will host an event at the Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington that will include a presentation on the natural history of bee pollination and tips to attract pollinators, as well as a workshop on building houses for bees.

* On June 26 and 28, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Ark. will be offering educational presentations on bats, bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

* Also on June 26, the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee, Fla. will host a day-long event featuring lectures, a living bee hive and a display of beekeeping tools.

* Monarchs Across Georgia is using the week to publicize its Pollinator Garden Certification for Peach State residents interested in making their backyard, schoolyard, workplace, or community a pollinator-friendly habitat.

And on Friday, June 29, the U.S. Postal Service will release its beautiful new Pollination stamp series (see above). Related to that, noted artist Stan Herd will create a one-acre crop art version of the stamp's dogface butterfly in a farm field in Kansas.

For more information on these and other events, click here.