Surry Hosts ‘Buzz Fest: A Celebration of Pollinators’ April 20
Posted: Mar 01, 2018
Surry Community College invites you to visit for a day of hands-on exploration and an opportunity to actively interact with local ecology during “Buzz Fest: A Celebration of Pollinators” on Friday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the campus at 630 S. Main St., Dobson, N.C.
Buzz Fest is an official event of the 2018 North Carolina Science Festival presented by the Biogen Foundation, a month-long effort to celebrate hands-on science activities. Buzz Fest is free and open to the public with participation expected from college classes, the community, home school groups, and local school systems.
Surry Community College was designated as a BeeCampusUSA in September 2017 – one of 31 BeeCampuses in the United States and one of only six North Carolina colleges. Buzz Fest is being held as a part of the college’s responsibilities for its BeeCampusUSA status, which includes community education and creating sustainable habitats for pollinators on campus.
The agenda for Buzz Fest consists of a Bio-Blitz, lectures, campus tours, and demonstration activities.
“We are excited to host our first Buzz Fest and hope many people will attend to learn about what they can do to help save and protect our pollinators such as honey bees and butterflies that are desperately needed for a healthy, sustainable environment and ultimately our food production,” said Jeff Jones, SCC Horticulture and Biology Instructor, who is heading up the event.
One in three bites we eat is courtesy of insect pollination, and 90 percent of the world’s wild plants depend on pollinators to reproduce, according to BeeCityUSA.org.
The Bio-Blitz will start the event at 9 a.m. and be led by SCC Biology Instructor Grayson Patton and facilitated by students in Environmental Science, Horticulture, and Botany classes. This scavenger hunt-like activity will focus on finding and documenting local insect pollinators and their associated host plants. Participants will be led around the many campus landscapes and explore vast natural areas surrounding campus to collect images of insects and plants. These images will be uploaded to the event group page using the iNaturalist smartphone app and identified.
“The goal is to have a comprehensive inventory of pollinator-plant populations for this area,” Jones said. “Our students will also benefit by becoming more familiar with native species.”
Two speakers will give expert presentations on creating pollinator gardens and beekeeping best practices. Amy Moyle will speak on “Technology & Beekeeping” at 12:15 p.m., and Debbie Roos will lecture on “Pollinator Gardening” at 1 p.m.
Amy Moyle is a systems engineer with a passion for honeybees. She started learning about honeybees and beekeeping in 2008 and has been keeping bees in North Carolina since 2011. Moyle has been active in both the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association and the Surry County Beekeepers Association and is currently the webmaster for the Surry Beekeepers, www.surrybeekeepers.org. In addition to keeping bees, she also teaches beekeeping, mentors new beekeepers, participates in community events promoting bees and beekeeping, and shares experience and beekeeping resources through her website www.BumblingBeekeeper.com. She's always happy to share her love of beekeeping with anyone who asks. Moyle is currently engaged in an effort to establish Greensboro as a Bee City USA.
Since 1999, Debbie Roos has been an Agriculture Agent for the Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension where she is responsible for programming in the areas of commercial vegetable production, organic production, pollinator conservation, alternative agricultural enterprises, forestry, and beekeeping. Roos worked for three years as an agroforestry extension agent and technical trainer for the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa, and later completed graduate degrees in Applied Anthropology and Horticulture at the University of Florida. Roos delivers educational programming to growers through regular workshops and her award-winning Growing Small Farms website www.growingsmallfarms.org. She also works with area farmers’ markets and is involved in statewide efforts to strengthen local food systems. Roos is passionate about pollinator conservation and has planted demonstration habitats and developed resources to teach others about the importance of bees and other pollinators to our agriculture ecosystem. Visit her pollinator website at www.carolinapollinatorgarden.org.
A number of demonstrations will be available for interaction during the event including tables manned by master gardeners and beekeepers. Surry’s Horticulture classes and Welding fabrication class will display pollinator nesting habitats that students have constructed, while the college’s occupational programs will exhibit mason bee, butterfly, and bat houses made by students. Several of these items can easily be replicated by homeowners to increase pollinator populations locally. The NC Cooperative Extension Service will provide a demonstration bee hive, bee communication games, and a beekeeping skill quiz for attendees.
Pollinator garden plantings, greenhouse and high tunnel production areas, and a commercial-scale vineyard are housed on Surry’s campus, and the college owns many acres of meadow and wooded natural areas. Campus tours of these spaces will be available separate from the Bio-Blitz.
“At the conclusion of the event, pollinator-friendly plants like Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) will be raffled with the hope that they will be incorporated into home landscapes to provide increased food supplies for butterflies,” Jones said.
North Carolina Science Festival
As an official 2018 North Carolina Science Festival event, Buzz Fest is among hundreds of community-based events that are showcasing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities for the citizens of North Carolina.
Founded in 2010, the North Carolina Science Festival is the first statewide science festival in the United States. Through a series of community-based events each April (hosted by schools, colleges, libraries, museums, parks, businesses and other local organizations), the Festival celebrates the economic, educational, and cultural impact of science in North Carolina.
“Science is fun, science is everywhere, science is for everyone — that’s what the North Carolina Science Festival is all about,” said Jonathan Frederick, Festival Director. “In 2018, we have a special focus on ‘The Science of Food and Drink’ with events for the full month of April.”
The North Carolina Science Festival is presented by the Biogen Foundation and produced by Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For more information, visit www.ncsciencefestival.org.