- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The panels feature mostly native bees.
The project dates back to 2011 when 22 UC Davis students enrolled in an Entomology 1 class, "Art, Science and the World of Insects," taught by entomologist-artist Diane Ullman, professor of entomology at UC Davis and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis.
The half-acre bee garden, located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road is open from sunrise to sunset for self-guided tours. No admission is charged. The latest news: The Haven will now be staffed every Friday morning from 10 to noon. You can not only see pollinators foraging on the plants, but view all the art, including Billick's six-foot-long mosaic/ceramic sculpture, "Miss Bee Haven," that anchors the garden. On Fridays, you can also see the bee display case, sign up for a "catch and release" bee vacuum, and buy bee guides and plants, according to the academic management officer Christine Casey.
But back to the bee mural. Then doctoral student Sarah Dalrymple of the Rick Karban lab, served as the graphics project coordinator and teaching assistant, guiding the students on design, creation and installation of the panels. She went on to be named the 2011 recipient of the UC Davis Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award and praised for fusing the boundaries of biology, art and culture.
The 22 students portrayed 22 bees, including such natives as mason, sweat, squash, leafcutter, blue orchard, carpenter and bumble bees. Notice that the honey bee is not listed? That's because it's not a native. European colonists brought it to America in 1622, and it wasn't introduced to California until 1853.
Another non-native is the European wool carder bee, first detected in the United States (New York) in 1963, and in California (Sunnyvale) in 2007. The carder bee is so named because the female "cards" fuzz from plants for her nest.
The students celebrated their work and talked about their projects at an end-of-the-year gathering in 2011.
And now visitors to the garden can celebrate--and appreciate--all the dedication, ingenuity and creativity that went into this mural.
(Editor's Note: Who are the students and what species did they study and design? They're all listed on this website, as well as the identification of the students in the group photo below. The configuration of this blog does not allow a long caption.)
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Now they are thinking inside and outside the hive.
Visitors to the grand opening celebration of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, will see two columns of bee hives or “bee boxes” gracing the entrance to the half-acre bee friendly garden, located at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, University of California, Davis.
“They’re fantastic,” said bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey. “They’re beyond fantastic—the art work is awesome. Not only is the quality of artwork highly impressive, the coverage and accuracy of the honey bee life cycle and activities depicted are extremely well done.”
Cobey is right. They are amazingly bee-utiful.
The colorfully painted bee hives are the work of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, co-founded and co-directed by Ullman and Billick. Ullman is an entomology professor and associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Billick is a noted artist who holds a bachelor’s degree in genetics and a master’s degree in fine arts.
Dalrymple, a UC Davis entomology graduate student, served as the teachers’ assistant for the program’s Graphics and Communications Studio section.
As part of their research, the students enrolled in the class visited the Laidlaw facility, learning about bees from Cobey and staff research associate-beekeeper Elizabeth Frost.
“From my view, watching this come together has been a highlight, as the students asked their numerous questions seeking accuracy and sought the experience of opening a colony and observing bees in their numerous duties,” Cobey said. “The delight and amazement of students holding a frame of brood, watching a new bee emerge from her cell, feed larvae or pack in pollen for first time, is also is a thrill for me.”
Each sculpture is stacked with seven real bee hives, so real that curious Laidlaw bees try to enter them. One column depicts life inside the hive, and the other column, life outside the hive. Among the images: a queen bee laying eggs, nurse maids caring for the brood, and foragers collecting nectar, pollen, propolis and water.
The half-acre bee friendly garden, open year around at no charge, includes a 6-foot-long honey bee, created by Billick and funded by Wells Fargo. It's a worker bee appropriately placed beneath an almond tree.
Ceramic tiles on the bench below the bee were created by undergraduate students in a freshmen seminar for Davis Honors Challenge students; community members; and sixth grade students at Korematsu Elementary School, Davis.
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, once said that the honey bee haven is sure to become "a campus destination."
She "bee" right.
(See this web page for more information on the grand opening.)