As luck would hive it, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is hosting an exhibition of Wild Bee photography by Paula Sharp and Ross Eatman from August 9 to November 26 in the Pritzlaff Conservation Center Gallery.
Sharp and Eatman’s crisp macro photographs bring visitors closer to the variety of shapes, colors, and sizes of wild bees and illustrate the unique relationship between native plants, crops, and bees. Originally hosted at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve Art Gallery in New York, this sampling of their exquisite photographic works illustrates bees’ essential role in our planet’s health.
Beginning in July 2014, Sharp and Eatman undertook this three-year photographic project to document bees in New York’s Rockefeller State Park Preserve and neighboring Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. There, the mingling of domesticated honey bees and native pollinators comes from the unique juxtaposition of nature preserve and farmland.
While many people are aware of the collapse of European honey bee populations, fewer know that native insect pollinators are also declining globally due to a combination of habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticide use, pathogens, and invasive species. Native bees pollinate both wild plants and agricultural crops–many of which cannot be pollinated by honey bees. There are nearly 4,000 native bee species in North America which provide roughly $3 billion per year in “ecosystem services.” California is home to over 1,600 of these essential pollinators, many of which are uniquely adapted to the native plants they have evolved with. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden works to create habitat for these bees in the wild and on Garden grounds.
A free opening reception will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 at the Garden’s Pritzlaff Conservation Center located at 1212 Mission Canyon Rd. Reservations can be made online. Don’t miss the exciting opportunity to learn about the little creatures that keep our world going—you’ll definitely get a buzz out of this one!