Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation (GPRF) is hosting an all-ages bumblebee workshop on June 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in partnership with Wildlife Preservation Canada, Alberta Parks, and TD Friends of the Environment.
“Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park protects 2,300 acres of native grasslands and we’re really lucky to have one of the most incredible, untouched swaths of grasslands,” said GPRF executive director Sarah Parker. “We have a ton of wildflowers, which pollinators love so we have a number of bumblebee species in our park.”
The Saturday workshop will be led by Tiffany Harrison with Bumblebee Watch, who will teach the workshop participants about native bumblebees and how they live, according to Parker.
Harrison will also teach the workshop how to use the Bumblebee Watch app to help them identify and document bees. The app keeps track of bees that are reported by volunteers all across North America. Those joining the workshop will become volunteers by providing bee observations in the app.
“It’s driven by you, when you have time to make observations and it can be done at any time,” Parked explained.
“What people will do is go out on their own time and snap pictures of bumblebees and upload them to the Bumblebee Watch app. The identifications will be confirmed by Wildlife Preservation Canada.”
Giving the volunteers some hands-on experience, Harrison will lead the group into the provincial park and find bees for the participants to identify.
Those attending the workshop should dress appropriately for a light hike, Parker suggested.
“[Harrison will] talk about some of the different species we have in Glenbow that have been identified and then [the workshop] will get to go out and actually learn the practical way of uploading photos to the Bumblebee Watch app and [she will] teach them how the app works,” Parker said.
Collecting bumblebee data using the app can help associations like Wildlife Preservation Canada and Alberta Parks understand and track bee patterns, according to Parker.
For example, knowing if a particular species of bee is declining in a specific area can help environmental associations determine proper rangeland management for that area and strategies to best protect the bee species.
“It also can even help on a federal level, with environmental policy,” Parker added. “More information is always good when we’re looking at our ecosystems and how to protect them.”
To register for the free workshop, those interested can email email@example.com. Lunch will be provided and the workshop can accommodate 40 participants, so it is recommended to email GPRF to secure a spot.