Science in Action!

Photo credit: Chloe C.

Who? Chloe C.

Where? Mercer County, NJ

Pollinator? Native Solitary Bees

Photo credit: Chloe C.

Chloe C. of Girl Scout Troop 70106 had pollinator conservation in mind when she decided to pursue her Gold Award project. Located at Etra Park in Mercer County, NJ, Chloe’s objective was to create a nesting habitat for native bees, specifically native solitary bees. Solitary bees use twigs, pinecones, and hollowed-out stems to construct nests, so Chloe added them to the three bee boxes she built out of wood and placed them on posts about 4 feet above the ground. Not only did Chloe create nesting habitat for the bees, but she also planted flowers surrounding the nests for two reasons: to attract the bees to the boxes and to supply forage for the bees. The addition of forage will help promote healthy nests.

Completed bee box. Photo credit: Chloe C.

This project was not always smooth sailing, however. Besides the labor and fundraising, Chloe had a steep learning curve with teaching her fellow Girl Scouts carpentry, gardening and local bureaucracy. As part of the Gold Scout Award process, she had multiple meetings with local officials to convince the mayor, town council, and city planner of the importance of the project. Having conquered those hurdles and installing the bee boxes, Chloe has since reported success: she observed bees and other pollinators foraging on the flowers and bees entering and leaving the bee boxes. She is also confident that her design will be useful in the years ahead. She says the boxes were “inserted sturdily into the ground, and has materials that can withstand weathering. It might need some touch-ups with shingles or the sign, but I believe it should be good on its own even longer”.

Photo credit: Chloe C.

Chloe’s project, and others like hers, shows you don’t have to be a conservation scientist to impact the environment positively and that anyone with drive and focus can aid in protecting bees; and the vital ecosystem services they provide.