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SAPS offering free program on 'Wild Bees - A Gardener’s Best Friend'

Joy Moore • Sep 18, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Sam Droege, head of the Bee Inventory & Monitoring Program at the U.S. Geological Survey, will present "Wild Bees - A Gardener’s Best Friend” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, located at 300 W. Market Street in Kingsport.

Sponsored by Southern Appalachian Plant Society (SAPS), the program is free and open to the public.

What are wild bees? Did you know that it is the wild bees rather than honey bees that dominate the pollination and visitation of our pollinator and flower gardens? You certainly recognize bumble bees, but what about the hundreds of individuals that are about the size of grains for rice? The 50-plus genera? The 4,000-plus species? Do they sting? Do they provide honey? Do they pollinate crops? How do I recognize them? What is their relationship to native plants? Are they in trouble? How can I help them?

Accompanied by his stunning close-up photography, Droege will address these questions and more as he discusses the critical role wild bees play in our landscapes and how we can help preserve them.

Droege is a biologist who has spent most of his career at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the BioBlitz, Cricket Crawl, and FrogwatchUSA programs and worked on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs. Currently, he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, online identification guides for North American bees at www.discoverlife.org, and with Jessica Zelt reviving the North American Bird Phenology Program.

On Instagram and Flickr you can follow him and learn more of the details at USGSBIML. His group maintains high resolution photographs of insects and other macro natural history objects at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/.

Droege grew up in Hyattsville, Maryland, and has been fascinated with the natural world since his youth. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and a Master’s at the State University of New York - Syracuse. He is widely published in journals and has been the editor of numerous government publications on birds and insects. His work cataloging and photographing bees has been featured by NPR, The Weather Channel, National Geographic and the National Wildlife Federation, as well as in numerous publications including Wired, the Wall Street Journal and Popular Science. Droege is also the author of "Bees: An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World."

For more information, call (423) 348-6572 or email sapsinfo@embarqmail.com.

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