220 - Washington Co Master Gardener - Pollinator Outreach (par excellence)
Andony Melathopoulos: [00:00:00] Fortunately 2020, we finally were able to get out and talk to the public about pollinators. And I can think of no better event in some ways than an event that was held in may by the Washington county master gardeners at the PCC rock Creek demonstration garden, they have the event was called, meet the Mason.
Be. And their friends and was designed around the wonderful demonstration garden they had there. It was a glorious day and I got to meet some friends that I hadn't seen in a while to begin with. We have Martha Richards and Carol yada, both are members of the Oregon, B Atlas who are out catching bees and showing them to the public.
Then we have Ron Spindel. And many of you remember Ron, he has this, he's the Mason B guru of Oregon. And he has this amazing. Demonstration not hive, but domicile set up that you can just slide the door and watch the Mason bees as they work. Ron has made some very detailed observations, [00:01:00] remarkable to science using these, but as a public education tool, they're really amazing.
We then have Missy Martin has written the book on outreach and outreach and engagement on pollinators. And she gave us a quick rundown of a very easy game that you can play with anybody called the 6 5 4 3 2 1 game for pollinators. Then we have finally to conclude Susan Albright who's both a master gardener and with the Oregon B at.
And we're gonna talk about the actual garden that the event is anchored around and how you could get involved with being a master gardener. I think, as I've always said on the show, master gardeners are the front lines of pollinator education and outreach. And I'm glad to bring you this episode, perhaps a little belatedly, but as summer is coming to a close it's a great opportunity to reflect on a wonderful year, finally, of public outreach and engagement this week on pollination.[00:02:00]
Hey, Martha. Hi, how you doing? Good. So you have been at this event here at PCC rock Creek, doing the catch, observe and release table. Tell us a little bit about how that goes.
Martha Richards: We have a table with display of bees that are pinned so that people can see all the different bees that live in Oregon, or at least a sampling of them.
And then we also have our nets with us and we can go out and catch a B and put it in a small jar and people can look at the bee in the jar and then
Andony Melathopoulos: we let it go. I imagine for a lot of people they've never had a bee that close, like in their hand, even though the vial is separating things out.
Martha Richards: Yeah.
Yeah. And sometimes we cool the B down just a little bit, so it'll slow and they get to see some pretty neat B action.
Andony Melathopoulos: And what's this is a beautiful garden. There's lots to go. Lots of things. Blooming, lots of things coming into bloom. What's what have you been finding bees on?
Martha Richards: There's a big C this Bush over there.
Oh, that's beautiful. Gorgeous and full bloom. Mostly [00:03:00] only seems to have honey bees with a few Mason bees here and there. Okay. Few bumblebees, but the honey bees seem to really be flocking to that. and then there are some lavender plants that oh yeah. Have been attracting a nice set of bumblebees and then often away out of the garden.
There's a little bit of Ceia and I caught a Bumba Flava Thrones off of it. Oh, you did? I did.
Andony Melathopoulos: Yeah. That's fantastic. I imagine you get lots of questions when you know, suddenly a B is in people's are in, is in someone's hands and they've got questions. What kind of questions have you been running into today?
Martha Richards: A lot of people wanna know how many bees make honey. Which of course. Oh, of course only the non-native honey bee makes honey. Yeah. So that's always a surprise to people that most
bees don't, they must
Andony Melathopoulos: be just dumbfounded when you say, there's, 700 species and none of them make honey.
They were like, what's
Martha Richards: wrong with them? Yeah.
I, I did have one visitor [00:04:00] ask, why do we have bees? What's the point? Yeah. What did you tell 'em? I said they're such fascinating insects they're just cool, but of course also they do a lot of pollination. Yeah. We wouldn't have seeds and fruits without bees, so that was the real answer.
But the fun answer is they're really
Andony Melathopoulos: neat. Being at the garden, one of the things that people must, come up in their mind, having, getting a pollinator garden going, do you get, did you get any questions about the plants and
Martha Richards: we also have packets of seeds that are good for attracting bees cuz they have a lot of flowers in oh yeah.
Andony Melathopoulos: Be right beside the bee collection there. Exactly. Yeah.
Martha Richards: Yeah. And a couple people have said gosh, I don't really wanna plant these flowers because I don't want to attract bees and get stung. Oh. Or I live next to a school and I don't want the school kids to get stung. Okay. So I've been telling people that first of all, Only the females sting, not the males.
Yeah. And second of all, most bees don't really wanna sting people. They only do that to [00:05:00] protect their Naster if they're feeling threatened. And so if they're just buzzing around and collecting their food and the pollen and the nectar. They don't wanna be disturbed and they're more focused on the flower than the people, and they're not gonna sting you.
Andony Melathopoulos: I can also imagine. And that's nice thing about having the actual insects there is that most people, when they think of a stinging bee, they think of yellow jacket comes to mind. Yeah.
Martha Richards: Exactly. And those do tend to be a little more aggressive. Yeah. But the bees they're mostly just, they wanna do their own flying thing and get around, but they don't really wanna sting people unless you're disturbing
Andony Melathopoulos: nest.
Martha, thank you so much. I'll let you get back to collecting bees for people here at the PCC rock Creek and yeah. Good
Martha Richards: luck. Oh. Good to talk to you.
Andony Melathopoulos: All right, Carol. Hi, welcome to pollination. Hi. You've been doing the catch B thing on thing today. How has that gone for you? It's
Carol Yamada: really fun people.
They're so afraid of bees, and then you can really tell them how gentle the bee is and show them the bee and they calm 'em down. And it's good for the bees. [00:06:00] Have you, were
Andony Melathopoulos: you surprised by anybody, did anybody show up that was like they had it all dialed in or is, or most people that you encounter that just it's a cause bees are in the
Carol Yamada: news, bees are in the news. Most people that I talked to really hadn't considered native bees at all. Yeah. And they didn't realize that a honey bee is the only bee that makes honey Uhhuh and that nobody else does. And that the rest are just wild.
Andony Melathopoulos: Oh, they probably also the solitary, the fact that many species are solitary, they probably wanna know where the queen.
Carol Yamada: Yeah. Somebody said I have to start a Mabee house, but I need Mabee queen. Oh, I
Andony Melathopoulos: was like, it would be reasonable to think that you think, I, you come from beekeeping, it's I'm gonna go to the Wilco and they're gonna have some the package and whatever different the system. Okay. Exactly.
Fantastic. What have been some of the plants that you've been visiting here today? I've heard about the SIS was full of honey bees. There's
Carol Yamada: a SIS, which is full on the flocks. Yeah. And that's basically where I've seen most of the.
Andony Melathopoulos: I guess the coming up to the event, the lead up to the [00:07:00] event, people were worried because it was, it's been raining in Western Oregon, but we have a beautiful day here today.
Carol Yamada: is so rare. We've had five days of rain and it was 35 degrees when I woke up yesterday morning. Yikes. I know it was so cold, but today is like what? 70 almost it's beautiful. And the sun is shining. It's a great day.
Andony Melathopoulos: If you were give advice to one of our listeners, who's trying to do some outreach and education.
What's your do you have any kind of key tips? Like here's my 1 0 1.
Carol Yamada: Nothing's more exciting than a live B Uhhuh they, they just that's, their spirit is in the jar buzzing around and they're so excited. When you kill a B, that kind of goes away. . So to, if you are able to catch a.
And have it for people to look at. That's a real selling point for these and it raises up all these questions. Like why is there purple on their legs? Cuz it's purple pollen today.
Andony Melathopoulos: Fantastic. Thank you so much, Carol. And good luck with the rest of the event today. Thanks end, Amy. All right. Hi Iran. How you doing? I'm doing okay. How are you doing? Nice to see ya. And what a strange year [00:08:00] for Mason bees. Very strange.
Ron Spendal: It's become the new normal for is that we usually have a fake spring where suddenly everything looks nice and warm and people get all excited about planting and putting their Mason bee cocoons out.
And then we immediately dropped back into winter conditions. And this year we actually had two fake spring. The first go around a lot of the males who had emerged early died and those that survived got pretty well beaten up by the second wave back into winter. So it's been a real hard year for the Mason base.
Andony Melathopoulos: And I suppose everybody just holding some cocoons back all the time and just, spacing them out their emergency.
Ron Spendal: Yeah. Basically, if you can hold your cocoons so that you've got two or three waves to set out, that seems to be the way to go or to try to make sure that you refrigerate your cocoons so that you can wait until you actually see things in bloom.
And the temperature's up. That they'll be okay. And then you can set them out cuz it [00:09:00] takes only about 24 hours for them to get up to ambient temperature. And then everything's fine.
Andony Melathopoulos: Now this event today is Mason bees are the anchor of the of the day, but it's more broader than that.
And one of the, we had you on a past episode, but you've got here at PCC rock Creek. You've got a number of these observation nesting stations. Tell us a little bit how. Or how the volunteers here work with the public to talk about those nest station. Sure.
Ron Spendal: One of the things I noticed that at Jackson, bottom wetlands, where I've got my Mason bee nesting stations, about 10 feet inside of a fence area where the fence is about three feet tall.
So people could walk up to the fence and look out and see the Mason bee activity at those nests. Occasionally I would notice when I arrived there that people were on the other side of the fence pulling out the trays in the Mason B nesting station to look at it. Basically outta curiosity, they weren't trying to do any harm to the Mason bees, but they didn't know that you couldn't treat the trays very rough, cuz you might knock the egg off the pollen.
[00:10:00] Or they didn't know, they have to keep the trays in the same order because the Mason be's memorized their nesting channel by location. So I thought there must be a way to involve the public, but protect the Mason be's. So over the course of a couple of years, I experimented with an observable nesting station where someone could walk up and slide a door back and look at the Mason bees nesting in a protected environ.
where you could have clear plastic between you and the Mason bee. You could actually put your finger up to within about a quarter of an inch of the Mason bee. And then you could slide the darker colored door back shut when you were done, which was good for the Mason bees, cuz they like the nest in the dark.
So I finally came up with a design that seems to work fairly well. With two large trays, one on each side. And the kids seem to really like to be able to slide the door open and get up. So their noses are right up there [00:11:00] where the bees are, and they can see the bees building nesting cells and look at where the eggs are and how that works.
And then later see the larvae and the larvae spinning and the cocoons. They can get really up close
Andony Melathopoulos: to it. Let's say you've got I'm sure you've done that. Done this about, a dozen times today, but somebody. They slide back the door. What are the, how do you walk 'em through what are the first things?
Cause I imagine for many of them, they, I, we were just talking with Carol about how somebody asked them, I wanna get started with Mason bees, but where do I get the queen? So people really don't have a good understanding. So tell us about like you're with somebody, they open it up for the first time.
Where, how do you walk them through, how do you direct their attention?
Ron Spendal: The first thing that they, when they slide it open, the first thing that seems to impress. Is all of the bright yellow pollen. They wanna know what that is, where it came from. And he explained that the bees are bringing the pollen and nectar back into the nesting tray.
And then that really kicks off their questions about why are they putting the little pollen into this little P size ball? And you explain that's the [00:12:00] provision for the nesting cell. And you point out where eggs have been laid in nesting cells. And. They see the little thing that looks like a little tiny rice pellet, and you explain that's the egg and you quickly walk through the life cycle about the egg will hatch into a larva.
The larva will eat that pollen pile and then eventually spin a cocoon around itself. So you can quickly walk through the whole life cycle of the Mason bee while they're looking at it and seeing how it's all progress. And that leads to other questions like on the nesting tray, where there's 13 channels for the bees to be nesting in.
They want to know how come the be knows that's its channel and you explain that they market with the pheromone and they're all pretty much oriented to what's going on with their channel. And that's all they pay their attention to. And in the wild, they would be practicing social distancing and they wouldn't be nesting in a con.
Fashion like they are in an nesting station and you explain how that whole concept works and the fact that because you are bringing them all together into a [00:13:00] kind of a commune you're responsible as a diligent beekeeper to then clean the cocoons, cuz you've created a density of Mason be is that it become a target for parasites.
So you've got a responsibility then to correct the environment that you've created so that it works out to everybody's benefit.
Andony Melathopoulos: Now, I also see sitting beside you there. You've and I'm, I've heard you talk about this in the past, but you have little cards that I imagine as you're walking around a garden space you can refer to tell us a little bit about those carts.
Ron Spendal: Yeah. Because we've got a lot of these observable beast stations now in public location. and kids really like 'em and they're looking at them more and more, and I've got a couple of stations set up at some elementary schools in Hillsborough. I decided to come up with a bunch of different I call 'em baseball cards and they are
Andony Melathopoulos: the size of a baseball card.
Yeah. They're the side of a
Ron Spendal: baseball card. And basically it's pictures of different bees that I've taken over time and an explanation on the back of the card about what the picture. What kind of B it is, and if it's a [00:14:00] male or a female. Perfect. So that even if they can't read the material on the back, cuz some of the words might not be familiar to them.
They can take them home and have their kids or their parents read them to 'em or take 'em to school and have the teacher read 'em, which presents more of an interest on the teacher's part. But they can learn all about different kinds of bees and basically get a whole set of cards. So I've got.
Five sets of cards. There's nine pictures in each set. So that's 45 different cards they
Andony Melathopoulos: can collect is any one of the cards like more popular than the others
Ron Spendal: because all of the sites that I've got set up, focus more on Mason be's they ask a lot more questions about the Mason bees, cuz they can look at the card and match it to the living, be, as it's flying around.
And that seemed to make a lot more connection for. So that seems to help a.
Andony Melathopoulos: Fantastic, Ron, thanks so much for taking time. And this is a wonderful event. I'm so glad to be here today. I'm glad the
Ron Spendal: weather held up. We're doing well.
Andony Melathopoulos: all right. I'm here with the great Missy Martin. Hi. Hi,
Missy Martin: I'm Donny.
Andony Melathopoulos: That is good to see you. We were just talking, it's been a hard [00:15:00] pandemic and all sorts of things. Yeah. And this is like the fir you wrote the book on how to do outreach to the public. And so you're finally at a public outreach
Missy Martin: event.
Yes. And I just, I can hardly hold myself back. Every kid I see I'm saying, okay what has six legs? What has, et cetera, et cetera. And they get to answer B to everything, A B has six blank. A B has five blank. A B has four blank and they're looking, oh, that's good. They're looking at the bees.
Yeah. And one little girl will say six for the
legs. And then for some reason, these kids know.
That that these have five eyes. I've had so many kids say eyes. So they've learned that somewhere. Cuz you can't see that when you're looking at the bees. What's the three,
the three is body parts.
Oh yeah. Head middle abdomen. Yep. And then two, I say there's lot of them you're wearing it. Yeah. They're antenna. Yeah. And then one that really. People. And of [00:16:00] course it's a little stinger. Oh, for
Andony Melathopoulos: females. I, and I have seen everybody's sporting these great antennas as soon as they come in.
They, the antenna yeah. Antenna set. That's a great, I never thought about that. 6 5 3 4 3 2
Missy Martin: 1 6 5 4 3 2 1. It's just my go to, and so I was glad. Glad I
Andony Melathopoulos: remember that. I imagine there's some people here who this is their first time doing this and they're worried how do I carry a conversation on with somebody, complet strange.
And that's, I guess that is a challenge for some people, what are your tips to people? Absolutely starting
Missy Martin: out to take 'em to a plant and start looking to see what's hovering there and then, and take it from there. You start talking about bees and flies and wasps and, and.
To watch people realize that they can see what they're looking at and that it's not there accidentally that if it's on a plant, it's there on purpose on the flower. Yeah. It's there on purpose. Another thing that I have encouraged people to do is to because often, often where is shy as the people we're talking to.
Yeah. So it's a two-way thing [00:17:00] and, just ask them if they have a garden. And what are you growing and, have you ever noticed on the flowers and have you ever noticed on some flowers you don't ever see
Andony Melathopoulos: bees, and what have you heard today when you've asked that question?
Missy Martin: immediately. So some people have really been looking yeah. And have a lot to say, and other people say, I never knew that there were west on these. On flowers. I never knew that there were flies on flowers. In fact, I didn't even know that all of those other things were bees.
that's the aha.
That's the spark
people just love. Actually knowing
something, owning a piece of knowledge. Oh, that's that true? That's right. Yeah. That's what they love.
Andony Melathopoulos: Has anybody surprised you today? Oh, ,
Missy Martin: I'll say yeah
yeah the, yeah these little girls that all knew that bees had five eyes and that blew me away.
But then another thing on another note was not a naturalist thing, but this boy came up to us afterwards. And said, I just, and he was just like this, I just [00:18:00] wanna thank you so much for putting this
for the bees. And we were just, I started taking pictures as fast as I could, and then he circles back around and he says, if someone asked me what I wanted to be, when I grew, when I grow up, I would say, I wanna be an entomologist.
Yes. Click, and then we got to share with him with one thing he didn't know, cause he knew an awful lot. And that was that a a person that
specifically studies bees is a
ologist and that Mel, it comes from the word, honey, it's a European word. And then people link that.
Andony Melathopoulos: That is fantastic. Isn't that? It's really wonderful. Just to, yeah. And it it's really, it's been terrible weather in Oregon and there are a bunch of people here today. This is so well organized.
Missy Martin: I'm amazed at at the organization that the master gardeners accomplished for this day.
And we've had a steady crowd
all day, just the right.
Families, mostly who are looking for something, [00:19:00] anything to do to get outside
Andony Melathopoulos: today. And I guess it's the first annual, so it's yeah. Yeah. Starting the conversation off, but it's such a great location.
Missy Martin: It's oh, couldn't be better.
A native garden.
That's specifically developed to to show off the Mason bees and all of the different ways that that people can manage Mason bees as well as what they can grow in their gardens. Yeah. The wild native plants that are falling.
That will support the beast.
Andony Melathopoulos: Fantastic. Missy, I'm so glad to come across you here today and on a beautiful, rare sunny day.
Susan Albright: No kidding. No kidding. And the bees noticed that too.
Missy Martin: Thank you so much.
Andony Melathopoulos: So this is the first annual, what
Susan Albright: is this called again? We changed it. It's the Mason beach meet the Mason bees. Okay. And some of their closest friends, but it was too long a title. So now we're gonna shorten it to meet the Mason bees and.
Andony Melathopoulos: like it. Okay. Okay. All right. Not their closest friends. Just the wide friends. Okay. All right. Awesome. And this is looking, especially after like solid rain. We've got a great crowd here today. Steady number of people [00:20:00] really well organized maybe just to start with before getting into the event.
Yes. Cause it's a master gardener, organized events. Just tell us a little bit about this master. So master gardeners have demonstration gardens across the state. Yes. Yeah. Yes. And this is one of them.
Susan Albright: Yes. Yes. Tell us on this one. Okay. So I'm just gonna back up a little bit. Cuz in Washington county master gardens, we have two demonstration gardens.
One is at Jenkins estate. Oh, and they have some similar things to us, but they also have fruits and vegetables. We don't do any food production
Andony Melathopoulos: here. All right. And they used to have the one at the fairground that
Susan Albright: got curb. Yes. Under yes that's. I was president when. That happened. Okay. But that's a whole nother story.
Okay. But anyway, so the Jenkins estate was established and PCC had approached us PCC rock Creek. About, would you be interested in a garden here? We'd love to have you. So in 2018 we signed an MOU with them and we started the garden. And so [00:21:00]
Andony Melathopoulos: 20 18, 20 18, this is only, this is looks great. Yes. Holy. Yes.
Susan Albright: So when we first looked at the garden, it looked a lot like the parking lot over there, Uhhuh minus the semis that are now parked there. so basically what our soil was two to three inches of three quarter inch gravel on top of about 10 inches of rip rack, rip rap rock. Oh geez. And landscape fabric under that, because this was a construction site housing for heavy equipment for.
Six years. Oh, so we thought, oh, this is perfect for a garden. Lots of rock compacted soil. So long story short through PCC and who helped us with a lot of things. We were able to actually excavate out all of the rock from the bed areas. Yeah. That we were gonna have cost us $0 through, which was fabulous.
Our initial thought was gonna be 30,000, but anyway, got that [00:22:00] going had soil donated, brought that in. And then it was a lot of hard hot work. And with some help from PCC, they loaned us equipment and we put the first plants in the ground in at fall kind of 2018. Half of the garden is overhead irrigated.
Half of it is drip irrigation. And we have several beds in the garden. So we have a water wise garden area. We have insect and pollinator habitat. We have a fragrance garden, and then in the very center, there are three beds that feature different conifers. That could be grown in the home garden. Wow.
So our goal here was to demonstrate plants that you could readily find in nurseries and how you might group them together in your home garden. Then it's been amazing how fast it has grown here. Been amazed at all of that.
Andony Melathopoulos: And I just, one quick thing, I just, I love the way I like the concept of it is like here, we're [00:23:00] gonna take an area and we're gonna give you a coherent garden design.
And I notice you even have these really wonderful. Rot metal or plasma cut signs. Yeah. Yeah. That look really, they don't look like a, a 10 task corrugated cardboard, this is like a really attractive sign that kind of frames up this part
Susan Albright: of the garden. Yeah. Those were something that Sue researched, cuz we said we really want some nice signs.
And so there was this place in Chico, California, we found, and we have a Camus bed and. They sent us a design and we said, ah, that doesn't really look like a Camus. Here's the kinds of things you need to include. So they customized little pieces that they put on the signs and we are just thrilled with them.
I think they're great. The last thing that we did, and this was when we first were planning the garden, I kept saying, we need a hedge row. We need a hedge row. And everyone was like, yeah, Susan. Okay. Yeah. But we weren't right. Quite ready. But this strip was just nothing. And so we just, this last [00:24:00] fall planted the hedge.
We, excavated out it's all Oregon natives, with an emphasis on drought, tolerant plants. We don't put in, we didn't put any trees because we had the same similar soil situation. So we mounted up and. Looked at what plants would be able to live in three to four feet of soil and still get adequate nourishment and water and so on.
What do we got here this well, okay, so we have Oregon grape. We have Snowberry we have connect. We have some stone crop down here. We have two beds with pollinator plants. And what we did was tapped into the studies that Gale Lang lotto did with Jen Hayes and Aaron Anderson.
Yeah. And looked at their top 10 choices and said, Hey, let's just go with those they're here. Yeah. We put some in with seed some plants and we're, so this is its first year. So we're gonna see how that all goes. And then we have Oregon grape. [00:25:00] Maybe I mentioned that we have the biggest thing we have.
That's not big yet is the Western service Berry. We also put in some grasses and then we put in rocks and we're leaving bear places for ground nesting bees. Branch piles and again, of a demonstration for people of what you can do in your garden.
Andony Melathopoulos: Oh yeah. You've got these nice in, right in the center.
You've got these two two big
Susan Albright: logs. Logs. Yeah. So the beauty of working here at PCC the ground crew here I said, I heard you guys cut down a tree, I want some, do you have any logs? And they go those won't work, but we think we have some within 15 minutes, they're driving up and they go with these two work.
So all the rocks and things you see here were things from PCCs. So we're able to get a lot of stuff for free is that, which is great. Is
Andony Melathopoulos: that nine bark over there? What's the taller thing there? No, in the
Susan Albright: center. No, right there. Oh, this one. Oh yeah. That's Ribes San Guin. Red flowering curtains. Oh yeah.
Yeah. And then we have some Penman David Sony. I, we have some Fe. And [00:26:00] then we put in some CAAs one of the things that we're trying to do because master gardeners one of their missions is to bring in cultural and historical topics. And we thought this was a plant that was important to the cion tribe.
Yeah. Who were indigenous to this. Several of our master gardeners went through training on diversity training that they did. And so Jack shore who's one of our master gardeners has done a presentation on the Camas and what its significance was to the fantastic, the local indigenous people who are here.
So you have Oregon grapes. OSIS is, are moving on down some thrift, some more grasses. And then, so we have a debate always, so here's some weeds growing up in there but that's an awesome place for Beatles to hang out. So part of it is if you can learn to live with a little bit of that kind of stuff in your yard.
Yeah. You have to keep on top of it, but weeding around, that's a hassle [00:27:00] and. And I think one of the things that I really like to show people in the garden is rethinking, first of all, what is a garden for ? Who is it for? And if I look at a garden and I don't see things buzzing around and flying or insects, Buring in the ground.
That has no attraction to me. , it's the life and the birds and the wildlife and whatever that really make it a difference. So we've talked about getting rid of some of these weeds, but, and on the other hand, I think if we can keep 'em from encroaching too much. Sure.
One thing I
Andony Melathopoulos: really like as well, cuz you know, there's always this debate about mulch, right? You take the mulch, no grounding. Clearly, it's a lot of places for ground nesting bees to nest. And you wanna keep this, keep the water in yes. And all that stuff. Yes. But you created some spots right.
Where they're nesting and not gone oh, we're getting rid of all the mulch. Exactly. And then we got a water problem and all
Susan Albright: that. Exactly. Yeah. And I think there's one of the things that we've also been the, so the mulch that we use here is all just. From trees had been cut down and some, you're never too old to learn.
I've been in master gardeners a long time and it didn't even occur to [00:28:00] me when people use bark dust. Yeah. You think about the role of bark on a tree? Yeah. Is like the moisture barrier. Oh yeah. So you put it in your yard. Do you really wanna keep the moisture from going down into the soil? No, but the wood chips decompose, and over time they break down all spaces
Andony Melathopoulos: the water to go through.
Susan Albright: I've never even spot. I hadn't even thought about it either. It was like, duh, so anyway, this is all free. And then As I was reading more and we were about, how you don't need to leave huge swaths of bare ground for the bees. Yeah. But to have some things strategically placed here and there, especially
Andony Melathopoulos: I love this area.
I can just see this area around the seeds, just being like this. It's got the rock there. It's nice and hot. I can just see them just like making
Susan Albright: little mess around there. Yeah, I hope so. I was thinking of putting a little welcome or come here, build your home here. So what actually got us started thinking about, and as I've been in Oregon, B Atlas and learned more about where they, they like a sort of slope, they like it facing on [00:29:00] south.
And we have a part on the edge of our garden where I noticed one day, oh, we've got ground nesting bees, cuz the mulch had washed away. Yeah. And it was on the, just everything was perfect. So that got us thinking. So when you talked about the metal signs, we wanna make some signs that say, don't mulch here.
Leave space for the bees. Oh yeah. Anyway. Yeah. So it's been it's been a lot of fun and just, we'll see how it progresses. I'm looking forward to a couple years. What about that there? Oh, okay. So we're here on the PCC campus. Yeah. And the PCC campus prior to COVID, this is their learning garden, totally fruits and vegetables.
And they. They have orchards, they have blueberries over there. They used to have raised beds with blueberries. And this time of year, you would've, they would've had it planted. And they planted like a whole big thing with pumpkins, cuz they did a harvest Fest. They do around Cinco de Mayo or no deer deaths, low weirdo.[00:30:00]
They Grown the big marigolds, but because of COVID and cutbacks, this PCC campus had the most strict COVID re COVID protocols. They had no students to do this. So this is basically lane fallow for a couple years. You can see some FIA coming up. That's what the suit might check my attention.
Okay. Yeah. So a couple years ago they put in and it was just a mass of FIA, which was cool. So for us we've we have been able to utilize for example, we do blueberry pruning. They didn't have anybody to prune the blueberries. So we were able to utilize their plants. To demonstrate pruning and care of blueberries.
So it's just been a terrific partnership with the landscape technology department. We've now there's someone in the biology department that I've been in touch with to find out about collecting bees out on the wetland, out over behind the campus. On the north side of this campus, there's a whole wetland area.
Okay. That clean water services manages.
Andony Melathopoulos: So [00:31:00] I. The thing I was recently on a, there was a national B monitoring network meeting and Gail was talking Gail Ola, headmaster, and she pointed out that a large proportion of people in the master methodologist program, our master gardeners and. That must equip you in some ways, it gives you a really great skill set for talking about B conservation.
Tell us a little bit about that connection of like master gardeners and people who are
Susan Albright: master mentalists. Yeah. Yeah. And it was through, we have a program where we have speakers who come and talk to our chapter members and I can't remember the year, but rich Hatfield from xeri society. Oh yeah.
Came and talked about bumblebees and I was like, oh my gosh, I need to do this. So I went to his training and did the bumblebee Atlas yeah. For two years. And then through that found out about Oregon B Atlas and then came in 20, 20 the COVID conference, right? Yeah. We call it and got involved from there [00:32:00] and it's been an obsession ever since what about
Andony Melathopoulos: this connection?
Because you have this, I think, master gardeners are exemplary in terms of public service. , really taking serious, the charge of helping the public. The land grant mission do having both hats, how does that kind of shape your approach
Susan Albright: to things? For me what I've found, first of all the, and bees pollinators, invertebrates are all really important to gardening.
And I think the way I kind of balance the two is I believe that master gardens in the past, it was all about vegetable garden. Know, how do you make a nice lawn? How do you do that? I don't see that as a sustainable piece. I think we really need to look at what are our water resources, what is the best use for our land and what can we do to promote that to people?
So when I look at some of the things that people are probably not gonna like this, but roses are, I am not a rose fan. Yeah. I'm just here to tell you too much, way too [00:33:00] much care and. My thing is if it isn't something that really is beneficial to some kind of invertebrate , that's my role in my home garden so I am slowly getting rid of some things in my home garden that, it's okay, what's your purpose?
You're a lot of work. And you don't give anything to back to the wild you're gone. yeah, you're outta there. Tough love, but I just think, why. Put water resources into something that isn't giving some benefit back. Yeah. So that's my mantra. Last question.
Andony Melathopoulos: Yes. So this the Mason bees and their closest friends, yes.
First annual, are you expecting to do this again? It sounds like a, we would
Susan Albright: love to. Yeah. Plus the amount of work that it took to pull the activities together. I wasn't gonna do this if it was gonna be a one off. And this all kind of happened because Ron. Spend all Mr. Mason, B Mr. Mason, B
I said you do all these great classes. We never celebrate when they're out in the garden. Yeah. Which is a fun thing. So that's how [00:34:00] that all transpired. And then of course, this year, cuz it was so cold and wet, we were oh, is it gonna happen? But we hope to have this be a recurring advance.
Andony Melathopoulos: so in some ways this is anchor and I should say we, we talked to Ron and I think Ron didn't quite mention this, but there's. Five nesting stations in this small, we have
Susan Albright: a lot. He has his condominium yeah. Over here. And then we have and then his new pollinator kiosk with the sliding panels.
We have two other sliding panels yeah. In the garden. And then I believe in addition to that, There's yeah, there's probably five or six in the garden, including the big B condominium.
Andony Melathopoulos: And so that, that really anchors things it creates a real kind of, obviously like a cherry festival or something like this is like the festival
Susan Albright: of this garden.
Yeah. Yeah. And being an OBA person, I, a lot of people know about Mason bees, so they were The draw in, hell we can suck 'em in with Mason bees and then say, by the way, there's all these other bees. And cuz I, I think that happened. That's how it happened for me. I learned about Mason [00:35:00] bees and then it was suddenly like, Native bees are cool.
What else is out there? Anyway, so yeah, we hope that this, goes on again and would love to make it an annual event. We'll see. We've had, not a bad turnout, publicity is always an issue and, try and we try to make it. I think one other thing that's important is having events for the family.
Yeah. Because parents work during the week and they wanna be with their kids on the weekend. and we've had the gal I was talking to earlier. She homeschools her daughter so she was really thrilled with some of the things they got here. And anyway, it's just, and you gotta get the young people involved and interested, right?
Oh, we talked
Andony Melathopoulos: to Missy Martin earlier and there was somebody who. Who declared his intention to become an entomologist yes.
Susan Albright: I heard that and this kid, it was like the kid. I wonder if it was the same boy that I talked with who was going on and on about how, oh, I know that's a fly and it's a mimic of a bee because bees sting and it knows that, if it mimics the bead and somebody won't eat it da.
And I thought he's like a mini
Andony Melathopoulos: Merick. Oh [00:36:00] yeah. Merrick Stanton. One of our our yes. The who's designing the
Susan Albright: new organ license plate. Yes. Yes. And in fact, if we do this, I almost I just didn't, couldn't pull it together, but I would love to have merit come and be here and talk with some, I think for kids to just say, you don't have to be 67 to do this.
You can be 16 and do this. Oh, that's a great idea.
Andony Melathopoulos: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much
Susan Albright: taking the time. Oh, you are welcome. I'm thrilled that you came up pulling this event together, which is just marvelous. Oh thank you. Thank you. It's been a lot of fun. And as a former teacher, that's, I just love education outreach.
And I love doing the graphics and pulling all that together oh yeah. I
Andony Melathopoulos: guess a quick fit plug. We're gonna, this probably be the end of the episode at this point. Yeah. If somebody is in Washington county, yes. Or one of the counties wants to get involved with master gardens, how do they do it?
Susan Albright: Oh, okay.
They can go to our website and Washington county master garden. Dot org. And we have information on there on how to become a master [00:37:00] gardener. And the other thing is to come to one of our two demonstration gardens. We have Wednesdays in the morning or workdays at the education garden at PCC rock Creek, Thursdays in the morning.
At the learning garden at Jenkins estate. Cause they can just wander in, you could wander in and just talk to folks and say, Hey, and we actually have people who come and they aren't master gardeners, but they wanna just work in the garden. So we've encouraged, once the COVID stuff clears up a little bit more.
Yeah. So it's pretty cool. Fantastic.
Andony Melathopoulos: We'll have those locations and the show notes and thanks so much and thanks for organizing this event today. Great.
Susan Albright: Thanks.
2022 was the year we were able to get back out to public events to talk to the public about pollinators. Some of us were a little rusty. In this episode we hear about how to pull off an excellent event and how to involve Master Gardeners.
In this episode we hear from (in order of speaking):
- Martha Richards (OSU Master Melittologist)
- Carol Yamada (OSU Master Melittologist)
- Ron Spendal (OSU Master Gardeners)
- Missy Martin (OSU Master Melittologist)
- Susan Albright (OSU Master Gardener / OSU Master Melittologist)
- Washington County Master Gardener Association (http://washingtoncountymastergardeners.org/)
- Education Garden at PCC Rock Creek (http://washingtoncountymastergardeners.org/come-learn-us/education-garden-at-portland-community-college-rock-creek/)
- Learning Garden at Jenkins Estate (http://washingtoncountymastergardeners.org/come-learn-us/227-2/)
- OSU Master Melittologist Program (https://extension.oregonstate.edu/master-melittologist)