Small world…

Heather and I have had the privilege of visiting a few schools, groups and clubs and talking about honey bees. We enjoy it! Guess it echos back to our days on the road with the Touring Theater Group and the English Language Communications Programs we used to do in Europe. Lots of work, but good times. Still, some days you wonder if it’s of any use other than a distraction from classes and work. Of course the students enjoy it – it’s different! But now and then you get an indicator that it may well be doing something more, something you can’t see – yet.

I received a message today from a parent…

“I forgot last night….one of the reasons I sought you out on Facebook is to say thank you for going into the schools. I had such a fun “proud” experience with my children because of you which, I believe 100%, reaffirms my belief that all things can have big impacts.
You went and visited the 2nd grade class at Elementary where my two twins go. They were amazed by the bees and the window that you have to watch the bees. They learned a ton. When my friend from high school came back to town for the Awards banquet two weekends ago, they got to meet her for dinner. I don’t know if you know Jeri Wright, but she is a bee researcher in England and has done quite a bit of post doc research. She has been published in Science (I believe) on the effects of caffeine on bee memory. Anyway, the questions and discussion they had with her because of your effort in their classroom was truly amazing. She was amazed at how much they knew and how many more in-depth questions they could ask. It was a wonderful moment.
So, thank you!”

The ‘Window’ mentioned is the beautiful Ulster observation hive one of our club members made for us. He built two of them, and I’m happy to say the 2nd one is out now with another of our group doing presentations for a local elementary school.

There’s a key in there. Heather and I can do this. We enjoy it and get good feed back. But at least as important is enabling others to do it as well. Advocating for pollinators, sharing some of the basics of a natural science in action – watching those new minds explode with wonder and curiosity, even if it’s not honey bees. In moments like this, I see being a beekeeper and sharing what we know as simply a facet of much larger, dynamic universe. A tool for new folks to get excited about their world and what’s going on around them. Things that may be happening right in front of them, but they never see – simply because they don’t yet know how to look. Feeling pretty chuffed that we can use a portable ‘Window’ into a beehive to show them a way to see.

And for a researcher to travel outside their circles, visit old friends and find out their field of study isn’t simply an esoteric arena of academic curiosity, but something folks are curious about and care about. Wow. No, I’m not in a research lab – but to think that our efforts here in Wyoming can at the very least be encouraging to the front line troops doing the research we all so desperately need – that’s just frig’n cool. Being a ‘Dude with a thing for bees’ is pretty slick at times.

Professor Geraldine Wright – Newcastle University
Agitated Honeybees Exhibit Pessimistic Cognitive Biases

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