Today was a great day!

Today was a great day for Team Echinacea! After a quick morning of remnant phenology, we finished measuring Lydia’s Experimental Plot 09!!! On the Northwest Phenology Route, all flowering Echinacea at East Elk Lake Road and North West of Landfill have finished flowering. It is pretty cool to think of how long we have been returning to these sites for phenology, and now many of them are wrapping up (and quickly!). In the afternoon Elizabeth, Gretel, Jared and I were busy working on demography at East Riley, Riley, Railroad Crossing, and North of Railroad Crossing. Other team members went to KJ’s to look for seedlings that teams have been following in years past.

On the pollinator note comes a follow up from Steve Ellis’s talk with us last Friday. I recently came to learn that the city of Shorewood, MN has passed a law banning the use of neonicotinoids!!!! Shorewood now joins the all too small list of cities banning neonics, including Eugene, Oregon and Spokane, Washington. Although this is a small step towards protecting the bees, Shorewood has made a very important statement. Check out the Star Tribune article about the recent ban, along with a post on the Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog!


Steve Ellis: a speaker for the bees

This morning Team Echinacea was joined by special guest Steve Ellis, a commercial beekeeper based in Barrett, MN. Steve is also a national advocate for curbing the usage of neonicotinoid pesticides and has filed a lawsuit against the US EPA for sanctioning the widespread use of these chemicals in agriculture. While sipping on wild forage sumac-ade and devouring some delectable scones, the team was captivated by Steve’s description of the US pesticide regulatory system and the consequences of neonicotinoid usage. Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of neuro-active insecticides used in agriculture throughout the US. Mounting evidence suggests these long-lived chemicals are at least partly responsible for the precipitous decline of commercial honeybee populations over the past 20 years. However, less is known about how neonicotinoids affect native pollinators, the birds and mammals that feed on pesticide-ridden insects, and the aquatic systems where neonicotinoids accumulate.


In other news, we finished measuring P1 before returning to the Hjelm House to celebrate Keaton’s birthday with cake and “exercises in estimation.”

background reading on bees and neonicotinoids

Steve Ellis recommended some readings for us. Here they are:

Also, here are two mainstream media pieces on the topic of honeybees and pesticides: