Daugherty Bee Rodeo

On Saturday, May 2, science researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and science educators from Sierra Nevada Journeys (SNJ) and the UNR College of Education joined forces for a day of – what else – hands on science! As part of the Daugherty Science Internship (DSI), a unique pre-service teacher training program, this in-depth science experience gave the teachers a chance to be a part of the scientific process, an invaluable lesson for them moving forward as they become the science expert in their own classrooms.

“I didn’t realize how little I knew about bees”. – said Ben Ho, a Daugherty Science Intern. “It was something I never would have thought about – gave me a whole bunch of teaching ideas I can use in the classroom.”

DSI’s Ho and Erica Charles, as well as Dr. Anne Leonard, UNR Biology Professor, PhD researcher Jake Francis, and Sean Hill, SNJ Education Director, set out on a trail somewhere North of Truckee, California on Saturday morning in search of the pollinators that are the focus of Jake’s research – bumblebees. With nets in hand, each stop included careful observation of the progress of the budding plants and trees nearby that attract these pollinators – namely – Willow, Peony and Manzanita. Within moments of striking out on the trail, Dr. Leonard struck out with her net. She swept a copse of willows with her insect net and it came back empty. Undeterred – she showed how it’s done as she and the others caught several species of pollinators, including bumblebees and mason bees (a bee species that does not colonize, rather they fly solo!). In addition to insect catching strategies, Francis and Leonard taught the group about pollination habits, plant preferences, bee species characteristics, research techniques, and investigative design.

We’re planning a follow up session to the lab to round out this science experience for the Daugherty Science Interns. This program was made possible by the Sandra A Daugherty Foundation and represents a collaboration between UNR’s Colleges of Science and Education, as well as Sierra Nevada Journeys, a local non-profit education organization.