- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's almost time to celebrate! Or cele-bee-ate!
In observation of National Pollinator Week, the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology has scheduled an open house at its half-acre bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven from 5:30 to 7 p..m., Friday, June 19. The haven is located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central campus.
Activities will include bee observation and identification, honey tasting, sales of native bee houses to support the haven, and information about low-water plants.
Low-water plants? This is especially important now that California is in the fourth year of a severe drought. Many people are letting their lawns go from green to brown, removing their lawns to plant bee-friendly plants, or selecting drought-tolerant plants.
The garden is open from dawn to dusk every day of the week. Admission is free. It's anchored by a six-foot-long mosaic sculpture of a worker bee, "Miss Beehaven," the work of Davis artist Donna Billick, co-founder and co-director (emeritus) of the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Project.
The haven was planted in 2009, thanks to a generous donation from Häagen-Dazs. More than 50 percent of their ice cream flavors depend on pollination.
The garden came to life under the direction of Lynn Kimsey, interim chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. "I suggested the idea of a demonstration bee garden that would serve two purposes, to provide food for our colonies and as a lovely place to educate the public," Kimsey recalled. Professor Kimsey directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of nearly eight million specimens, and teaches entomology.
A Sausalito team--landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki--won the international design competition
Kimsey was singled out for her work in founding and directing the installation of the garden when the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America honored her and four others--"The Bee Team"--with the 2013 outstanding team award. The history of the garden is on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website at http://bit.ly/1OAtD6W.
A private opening of the garden occurred Oct. 16, 2009 and a grand opening celebration took place Sept. 11, 2010.
Haven manager Chris Casey offers group tours for a nominal fee. Access the website for more information. The website also includes a list of plants in the haven list of plants in the haven, by common name and botanical name; a list of donors and how to donate.
The haven is a good place to "bee" on June 19.