This warm, calm Sunday morning was perfect for observing native pollinators. Susan Carpenter, Native Plant Gardener at the UW Madison Arboretum, was a knowledgeable guide and good role model for the 20 potential citizen scientists who attended the hike. Susan explained that her expertise in native pollinators grew incidentally out of her work with native plantings. Working with the DNR, she has begun to promote and train volunteers for the Wisconsin Bumble BeeBrigade, which seeks to expand our knowledge of this crucial species guild.
Susan led us past the rain gardens by the Picnic Point entrance and up to BioCore Prairie, taking ample time to stop and observe the five species of bumble bees we encountered along the way. She explained the life cycle and behaviors of several different bumble bee species and discussed threats to their existence, as well as ways we can help sustain them. Friends host and photographer: Paul Quinlan