Diario del proyecto ESF Pollinators

lunes, 28 de agosto de 2023

Start of a New Semester

Hello new and returning members of the ESF community! We hope you've enjoyed your summer break, whether it was spent in Syracuse or far afield. Now is a great time to check out the ways campus may have changed since you last saw it, with the new plantings that have been installed this spring and summer, and the new signage that will be forthcoming for those plantings. In our Bray pollinator garden, the fall flowers are beginning to bloom, setting the stage for a suite of late season pollinators. On the quad, our herb garden is open to all to pick and enjoy. So get out - especially if you're a new student - and explore campus!
Plus, check out the results from our public moth blacklighting event at Heiberg Forest, held in July:
Our events are gauged by student and community interest - if there's something you want to see, let us know!
Bee Campus also has many events happening in September, including two plantings that will need student volunteers. Keep up to date with the latest news on ESF Engage and the Sustainability Office instagram!

Publicado el lunes, 28 de agosto de 2023 a las 06:31 PM por mollymjacobson mollymjacobson | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

martes, 09 de mayo de 2023

Spring Bees at ESF

Here in the northeast, our greatest diversity of bees is in the spring. That includes everything from newly-emerged queen bumblebees to common solitary bees to rare specialists. In cities and suburbs, the spring floral resources for bees and other pollinators can be limited, as a great deal of those early flowers are found in woodlands, particularly healthy, undisturbed, mature forests. That makes it all the more important we plant native flowering species around our homes and in our public spaces, from ephemeral woodland wildflowers like Jack-in-the-pulpit and spring beauty to trees and shrubs like serviceberries, (native) cherries, and dogwoods.
Bloodroot in front of Illick Hall.

Here on the ESF campus, we're making an effort to offer pollinators a variety of spring flowers. Last year, we revamped the Northern Hardwood Forest Demonstration Area with a diversity of native ephemerals (and new signage!). In the past month, we've seen some of them already bloom, like this hepatica:

At the time of writing, the white trilliums and foamflower are in full bloom!

Check out this observation of a horn-faced mason bee on the spring beauty we planted.

Through Bee Campus, we have also been working to add more edible pollinator plants to ESF's landscaping, including several blueberry bushes in front of Illick and an herb garden on the quad in front of Moon Library. Those blueberries are among the best bee plants, feeding dozens of species, including several specialists.

However, by far the most popular plant with bees this spring on campus has been the willows in front of Moon Library. These Salix caprea hybrids have attracted hundreds of cellophane bees (Colletes inaequalis) from their nesting aggregations in Oakwood Cemetery, along with multiple species of bumblebee queens, paper wasps, eastern carpenter bees, green sweat bees, mason bees, small carpenter bees, and several kinds of mining bees which are new records for our campus species list!

Colletes inaequalis female

I did some sweep-netting of the willows on April 12th, and turned up a respectable species list! Bees visiting the willow included:

This is of course, in addition to the many great observations you all have made from these willows - keep up the good work. Willow has several specialists that were not documented here - so I challenge you to find them!

Many of these same species were observed on the flowers of fragrant sumac, which is blooming all around campus, particularly on the side of Bray Hall near the old greenhouses (where the sand cherry and pawpaw are also located).

We want you to get out and document ESF's spring bees!
Our project shows that there are very few observations of our spring pollinator fauna, like mining bees in particular. We know they're around, so we're counting on you to photograph them in our newly planted areas like the Hardwood Forest Area and the Illick blueberries, as well as our well-established plantings like the fragrant sumac and serviceberries, plus the wild margins of campus. Many of the species found on ESF's willows are new iNat records for central New York, or even New York state! You too can find something new and contribute to our understanding of native bees.
Please remember to use the field 'Interaction -> Visited flower of:' when you post! That way, we can learn what plants we've installed are helping pollinators the most. If you visit the Hardwood Forest Area, please stay on the path - many of the flowers are very delicate or difficult to see, and are easily damaged by foot traffic. Thank you!

Publicado el martes, 09 de mayo de 2023 a las 03:25 PM por mollymjacobson mollymjacobson | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

miércoles, 21 de septiembre de 2022

New Campus Pollinator Garden!

On September 20th, staff, students, and the ESF grounds crew came together to install over 180 native plants in what is now ESF's first dedicated Bee Campus pollinator garden! Located in P1 (the Oval Lot) between Bray and Walter Hall, in front of the iconic Robin Hood Oak, this new garden contains 27 species of native flowers, shrubs, and grasses.
Photo: Lilly Kramer

Check out just one example of the before and after:

From showy spring-bloomers like wild columbine and golden alexanders to crooked-stem asters and stiff goldenrod catching the last rays of autumn sun, this approximately 1100 sq ft area will ensure a turnover of floral resources all season that both pollinators and people are sure to enjoy. In addition, three species of native grasses - little bluestem, bottlebrush grass, and purple lovegrass (alongside panic grass and northern sea oats which grow nearby) - act as important habitat structure, skipper butterfly host plants, and nesting material for solitary bees and wasps. Three species of milkweeds, plus butterfly favorites like purple Joe-Pye, have earned this spot the added title of certified Monarch Waystation (via MonarchWatch) - so keep an eye out for this sign, coming soon!
We encourage students, staff, and visitors to ESF to come visit this new garden throughout the year. Part of the wonder and beauty of a native garden is that it is ever-changing, and there will always be something new to discover. We hope this place will offer not just ecological value, but educational, aesthetic, and recreational value as well, to all members of our campus community. Stay tuned for interpretive signage which will be installed at the garden to educate visitors about Bee Campus efforts, and how everyone can protect pollinators right at home.

iNatters, we want you to get out and document pollinators in this new garden! Check out this awesome Spilomyia fusca, a bald-faced hornet mimic fly, spotted visiting the new flowers right as they were being planted!

Photo: Lilly Kramer: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/136041734

Please note, any plants iNatted from this garden should be 'casual' and 'cultivated'. Soon everything in the garden will have official labels, so we highly encourage you to use the observation field "Interaction -> Visited flower of:" to let us know what plant you saw the insect on. You may also use "Host Plant" for any caterpillars you find.

A huge thank you to all the volunteers and staff who made this planting possible! Keep up to date on future Bee Campus plantings and volunteer opportunities by visiting our social media pages:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunyesfrsc/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunyesf_rsc/

Publicado el miércoles, 21 de septiembre de 2022 a las 10:21 PM por mollymjacobson mollymjacobson | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

martes, 30 de agosto de 2022

Welcome Back to ESF!

As a new semester begins at ESF, we welcome all new and returning students to the Syracuse campus. Now is a perfect time to get outside, explore the campus, and snap some photos of pollinators you find! We want to really work on expanding the campus species list, and to do that we need your help! This fall, as part of the Bee Campus USA program, new pollinator habitat will be installed on campus, adding critical native floral resources for both generalist and specialist pollinators. Stay up to date with Bee Campus happenings, such as our summer-long Pollinator of the Week posts and volunteer opportunities to install plantings, by following the Restoration Science Center @ ESF on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunyesfrsc/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunyesf_rsc/

Learn more about the Restoration Science Center at ESF: https://www.esf.edu/research/restorationscience/

And stay tuned for the official Bee Campus webpage, coming soon!

Publicado el martes, 30 de agosto de 2022 a las 06:01 AM por mollymjacobson mollymjacobson | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

miércoles, 13 de abril de 2022


Hello iNatters of New York and beyond! We are excited to introduce the SUNY-ESF Pollinators Project. This project will allow our college to gauge how well we are supporting New York's native pollinators through our efforts in partnership with the Bee Campus USA program, hosted by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Students, faculty, and visitors alike can get involved and help us learn more about campus ecology by contributing your observations.

The Premise

The Bee Campus USA program is a commitment to provide native floral resources, nesting habitat, and safe refuge from pesticides for our wild pollinators, shared by 135 other university campuses nationwide. As many know, SUNY-ESF is exceptional already in its commitment to environmental sustainability on all of its campuses, including the existing use of over 80 native species in our landscaping on the Syracuse campus and the exemplary Gateway green roof which showcases the unique Great Lakes alvar ecosystem.

But we believe that there are still many ways to make the ESF campus an even more biologically rich, ecologically functional, and aesthetically beautiful place for students, faculty, and visitors to enjoy. The main component of the Bee Campus pledge is to create native habitat for pollinators. There are many locations on the ESF campus where thoughtfully designed plantings of diverse native flowering forbs, shrubs, and trees can be added to meet the resource needs of a wide variety of native pollinators throughout the year. Improved signage, focused course curriculum, and community outreach events can all serve to bring awareness to the value of native plants in our city landscapes, and how we all can support pollinators right in our own backyards, parks, and businesses.

Beginning in spring of 2022, ESF staff, faculty, students, and volunteers will begin the process of designing and installing native plantings for the Syracuse campus, for areas such as Bray Hall and Baker Hall. Not only will the addition of more native plants attract pollinators and wildlife, but they will serve to enrich the human experience as well. Many of our New York native species have a rich cultural history with the Haudenosaunee people, which we will endeavor to highlight by working with the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment on our planting choices and signage. ESF is also heavily involved with efforts to bring urban food forests to Syracuse, reclaiming vacant lots to establish fruit and nut-producing species that can aid in alleviating food scarcity in impoverished communities and restore connections to the land. These efforts will continue on our campus with the selection of native species that support pollinators, wildlife, and people, encouraging students and the public to engage with the campus grounds through responsible foraging - and iNatting of course!

With this iNaturalist Project, we want to catalog the rich diversity of pollinators that share our beloved campus with us. When you visit SUNY-ESF, take a moment to stop and smell the flowers - and look for bees too! We hope to start seeing some new faces, like specialist bees and caterpillars that rely on native species we have planted for them, or imperiled bumblebees using the spring, summer, and fall resources we will now provide.

How To Participate

It's easy to contribute valuable data to this Project!

  • Your observations will automatically be added to the project if your location is within the bounds of the ESF campus, and is identified as one of the several different pollinator taxa listed on the project's homepage.
  • Whenever possible, use annotations and observation fields. Knowing what flowering plant species a pollinator was seen visiting is extremely useful, both for identification and to help us learn which plants are providing important resources. We highly recommend using the observation field "Interaction -> visited flower of:". We will strive to have signage for our plantings that identify most species, but you can also use Seek or iNat to help you identify a plant as well. Please keep in mind to make any observations of campus plantings 'casual' if you choose to post sightings of plants, as they are not wild.
  • Check out what species have already been documented. Honeybees, cabbage white butterflies, and paper wasps are well-represented, but there are only two observations of mining bees! We welcome all observations, but our ultimate goal is to expand the list of known species on campus and determine what plants are best serving native pollinators. Try spending some dedicated time around a patch of flowers and document whatever visits, or set out in search of a few target taxa that haven't been seen before.
  • Take multiple angles. Many, if not most, of our native bee, fly, and wasp pollinators are difficult or impossible to ID to species from photos, but the chance of an ID goes up substantially if you can get clear, in-focus pictures that show important characteristics. Experts here on iNat will do their best to identify your sighting to the lowest possible taxon.
  • Tell your friends! More pairs of eyes means more species. We want everyone to enjoy and connect with the bounty of life our campus has to offer. We hope to host themed events in the months to come, such as a blacklighting night to document moths, or pollinator walks, but you can get a group of friends together and make your own species challenge! Bee Campus is a community-wide effort and will thrive as more and more people engage.

We look forward to keeping the iNat and ESF community updated on our progress, with journal posts about new plantings and highlights of outstanding user observations!

It's been a difficult few years for all of us, with much of the college learning experience spent indoors and at home. It's about time we get back out outside and reconnect with our campus. We can all help to steward our land and make ESF an even better place for future generations to enjoy. So get out there and post some sightings!

Molly Jacobson, ESF Pollinator Ecologist
Contact: mmjacobs@esf.edu

Publicado el miércoles, 13 de abril de 2022 a las 05:38 PM por mollymjacobson mollymjacobson | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario