It was the fall of 2009 when a half-acre bee garden on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis campus, sprang to life.
Headlines on colony collapse disorder dominated the news media, as scientists declared "honey bees are in trouble."
Under the direction of interim department chair Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, a crew installed the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (named for it major donor) on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Fast forward to the fall of 2019.
A 10th anniversary celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28. It will include sales of plants and native bee condos, honey tasting (honey from Sola Bee Honey, Woodland), catch-and-release bee observation and identification, and beekeeping and research displays. Several mini lectures are planned.
Visitors will see analemmatic sundial--the only one of its kind in the Sacramento area--and they can discuss the sundial with dial master and beekeeper Rick Williams, M.D. to learn how the dial was created and the links between human and bee perception of the sun. Visitors also will learn about "our research on bee use of ornamental landscape plants," said manager Chris Casey. In addition, visitors can "donate a book on insects, gardening, or nature for our Little Free Library," she announced.
- 10:30 a.m.: Donor and volunteer recognition
- 11 a.m.: Hive opening by beekeeper from the California Master Beekeepers' Association
- 11:30: Mini lecture, "Getting Started with Beekeeping"
- 12: Mini lecture, "Plants for Bees"
- 12:30: Mini lecture, "Using Solitary Bee Houses
- 1 p.m.: Hive opening by beekeeper from the California Master Beekeepers' Association
Häagen-Dazs wanted the funds to benefit sustainable pollination research, target colony collapse disorder, and support a postdoctoral researcher. It was decided to install an educational garden, conduct a design contest, and award a research postdoctoral fellowship to Michelle Flenniken (now with the Montana State University).
A Sausalito team--landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki--won the design competition. The garden was installed in the fall of 2009 under the direction of interim department chair Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology.
An eight-member panel selected the winner of the design competition: Professor Kimsey; founding garden manager Missy Borel (now Missy Borel Gable), then of the California Center for Urban Horticulture; David Fujino, executive director, California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis; Aaron Majors, construction department manager, Cagwin & Dorward Landscape Contractors, based in Novato; Diane McIntyre, senior public relations manager, Häagen-Dazs ice cream; Heath Schenker, professor of environmental design, UC Davis; Jacob Voit, sustainability manager and construction project manager, Cagwin and Dorward Landscape Contractors; and Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist, UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Others who had a key role in the founding and "look" of the garden included the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, founded and directed by the duo of entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick. The art in the garden is the work of their students, ranging from those in Entomology 1 class to community residents. Eagle Scout Derek Tully planned, organized and built a state-of-the-art fence around the garden.
"The Honey Bee Haven will be a pollinator paradise," Kimsey related in December 2008. "It will provide a much needed, year-round food source for our bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. We anticipate it also will be a gathering place to inform and educate the public about bees. We are grateful to Haagen-Dazs for its continued efforts to ensure bee health."
The garden, Kimsey said, would include a seasonal variety of blooming plants that will provide a year-round food source for honey bees. It would be a living laboratory supporting research into the nutritional needs and natural feeding behaviors of honey bees and other insect pollinators.
Visitors to the garden, Kimsey related, would able to glean ideas on how to establish their own bee-friendly gardens and help to improve the nutrition of bees in their own backyards.
Feb. 19, 2008
Häagen-Dazs Donation to UC Davis
Dec. 8, 2008
Häagen-Dazs Launches Bee Garden Design Contest
Feb. 26, 2009
Sausalito Team Wins Design Competition
Aug. 6, 2009
Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven Site Preparation
Aug. 13, 2009
Bee Biology Website to Be Launched
Aug. 13, 2009
Thinking Outside the Box
Sept. 15, 2009
Campus Buzzway: Wildflowers
Dec. 15, 2009
Bee Biology Website Lauded
June 6, 2010
Grand Opening Celebration of Honey Bee Garden
July 30, 2010
More Than 50 Bee Species Found in Haven: Robbin Thorp (Now there's more than 80 and counting!)
Aug. 25, 2010
Donna Billick: Miss Bee Haven
April 11, 2012
Brian Fishback: Spreading the Word about Honey Bees
Aug. 26, 2013
Eagle Scout Project: Fence Around the Bee Garden
The three men pause in front of the Kate Frey Pollinator Garden at the Sonoma Cornerstone and begin to read the sign.
"The Pollinator Garden by Kate Frey," one man reads out loud. "It's brand new, come back soon and watch as it grows. This flower-filled and colorful garden is a pollinator garden. All the plants offer food resources of pollen and nectar for pollinators such as native bees, honey bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. Pollen is a protein, mineral and fat source and is primarily a larval food for bees, while nectar is composed of various sugars and is the main food for pollination and the adult life stage of many beneficial insects."
They watch the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds--buzzing, fluttering and swooshing--in a rush of colors.
"Beautiful garden," one says.
"Do you want to see a praying mantis?" I ask.
I had earlier spotted a mantis in the vegetation--a female Mantis religiosa (species identified by praying mantis expert Lohit Garikipati, a UC Davis entomology student who rears mantids).
Californians commonly see native mantids, Stagmomantis limbata and Stagmomantis californica, as well as this introduced one, M. religiosa.
"I don't see it," one of the men says. "Where is it?"
"There," I point. "Camouflaged."
"You have a good eye," he comments. "Wow, I haven't seen a praying mantis since I was a kid." He whips out his cell phone for a quick image.
The praying mantis made his day.
It's always a good day when you encounter a praying mantis.
Kate Frey, a resident of Hopland, is the author of the award-winning book, The Bee Friendly Garden, with Professor Gretchen LeBuhn of San Francisco State University, a book that details how to design an abundant, flower-filled garden that nurtures bees and supports biodiversity. She's a two-time gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show and co-founder of The American Garden School. (Read this Bug Squad post to learn her favorite plants and how to attract pollinators.)
As Frey told the crowd at the 2018 UC Davis Bee Symposium, hosted last March by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology: "Whether you plant them, nurture them, or walk through them, bee gardens make us happy."
They do, indeed. Praying mantids do, too.
It's always held the Friday before Mother's Day to promote awareness of North America's public gardens. The non-profit American Public Gardens Association of Pennsylvania established the observance in 2009.
Want to celebrate it at the University of California, Davis?
The Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, Davis campus, has scheduled an open house on Saturday, May 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Here's what's planned, according to bee garden manager Christine Casey:
- Bee observation and ID demonstrations for kids of all ages
- Bee and plant experts to answer your questions
- Learn what and how to plant to help bees
- Learn about home food gardens and bees
- Free sunflower plants while they last
- Free parking at the garden
- Difficult-to-find bee plants for sale. (See plant inventory.)
A little history:
The garden, installed in the fall of 2009, was founded and "came to life" during the term of interim department chair, Professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, who coordinated the entire project.
A Sausalito team--landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki--won the design competition.
The half-acre bee garden is anchored by Miss Bee Haven, a six-foot long mosaic ceramic bee sculpture that is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis. She and entomologist/artist Diane Ullman co-founded and co-directed the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. The art in the garden is the work of their students, ranging from those in Entomology 1 class to community residents. Eagle Scout Derek Tully planned, organized and built a state-of-the-art fence around the garden.
The garden is named for the primary donor, the premium ice cream brand, Haagen-Dazs. Other major donors include the California State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (under the leadership of then State Regent Debra Jamison of Fresno). Names of many of the donors--those who gave $1000 or more--are inscribed beneath the Miss Bee Haven sculpture.
Missy Borel Gable, now director of the statewide UC California Master Gardeners' Program, served as the founding manager of the garden. Under her leadership and the work of the 19 founding volunteers, the bee garden was listed as one of the Sacramento Bee's top 10 garden destinations. The 19 volunteers chalked up 5,229 hours of service between May 2010 and Feb. 15, 2013, when their assignment ended. At the $10 minimum wage, that would have amounted to $52,290.
Native bee specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, who has monitored the garden since its very beginnings, has identified more than 80 bee species there.
If you visit the garden on Saturday, odds are you'll see many different species, including honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, and sweat bees, as well as butterflies and dragonflies.
The haven, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central UC Davis campus, will celebrate with an open house that night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The garden tour begins r at 6. Free sunflower plants will be given while they last. Parking is free.
- Learn how to catch and observe bees up close, and see honey bees at work in an observation beehive.
- Hear from experts on such subjects as bee diversity and identification, and how to create a garden to help bees.
- Listen to children's book readings about bees and gardens
The half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven was installed in the fall of 2009 under the leadership of then interim Entomology Department chair Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology. Fast forward to today. Christine Casey serves as the staff director of the haven, and Extension apiculturist Elina Niño is the faculty director.
There is much to see at the haven. A six-foot-long worker bee sculpture anchors the garden. It is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, who specializes in mosaic ceramic art. Billick and UC Davis entomology professor Diane Ullman co-founded and co-directed the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, which spearheaded the student/community art in the garden. See history of the garden.
And National Public Gardens Day? What is it? The sponsor, the American Public Gardens Association, "serves public gardens and advances them as leaders, advocates, and innovators." As told on the website: "
"A public garden is an institution that maintains collections of plants for the purposes of public education and enjoyment, in addition to research, conservation, and higher learning. It must be open to the public and the garden's resources and accommodations must be made to all visitors."
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is open from dawn to dusk. Admission is free. Check out the website for group tours and educational information, including what's planted in the garden and helpful hints about what you can plant in yours.
That's what will happen on Thursday, April 28 during the annual "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work" day at the University of California, Davis.
The UC Davis event, nicknamed TODS Day, coincides with the national workplace celebration, a day when employers spring open their doors to the offspring of their employees.
"Kids will have the opportunity to see how our UC Davis community functions, instructs, learns and grows," a spokesperson said.
Insects? Not to worry. Yes, there will be insects. The Department of Entomology and Nematology is planning special activities at its Bohart Museum of Entomology and at its bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. The Bohart Museum, home of nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo," is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. The half-acre bee garden is located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
"The haven will have activities for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day from 11:30 to 1:30," reports Christine Casey, staff director of the haven. "Learn how to safely catch and observe bees, learn about bee diversity, and have your lunch in our picnic area."
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum, says the Bohart will be open to TODS participants in the afternoon from 2 to 5. Education interns from EDU 142, an environmental education class, will provide insect life cycle activities. Visitors can hold and photograph the critters in the pettzing zoo, including walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and rose-haired tarantulas.
Among the many things to do:
- Make pottery and grind acorns with the Anthropology department.
- Experience what it's like to work in agriculture and plant some vegetables to bring home.
- Enjoy a reprise of the famous Picnic Day Chemistry Show.
- Meet the UC Davis dairy cows.
- Listen and dance to Band-Uh and explore the “Instrument Zoo.”
- Explore Chinese culture with Chinese crafts and food at the Confucius Institute.
- Visit feathered friends at the Raptor Center.
- Taste honey and see how wine is made at the Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Science Center.
- Enjoy a “Walk in the Woods with Chemistry.”
- Check out the famous double-decker buses and see UC Davis keeps them running.
- Get a peek at animal skins, nests, eggs, and skeletons collected by scientists/explorers from creatures around the world at the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology.
- Discover plants from the world's deserts and tropical forests, some which are carnivorous!
- Sound the police siren and spray the fire hose at the police and fire atations.
- See what it's like to be an Aggie football player and experience the stadium from inside-out.
- Check out the tiny world of plants and animals through the eyes of a microscope .
- Explore the backstage of the Mondavi Center for Performing Arts.
- Explore the artifacts, bones, stones and pottery at the Archaeology Lab.
Educational. Informative. Entertaining. And there's an added bonus: It's an opportunity for youngsters to envision their own future.