Botanical Garden Excursion: Honours Certificate Students
With spring in full bloom, the fourth excursion for the students in the Honours Certificate in Environmental Humanities and Sciences (EHS) took the students to the Botanical Garden in Oslo to learn more about the importance of the bumblebees and citizen science
Student Erik Nordnes Einum and Monica Kjærstad studying a red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius), called steinhumle in Norwegian.
On the 7th of May the EHS students met with Monica Kjærstad from La Humla Suse, to learn more about the importance of pollinators and the bumblebees’ essential role in the web of life, as well as in human food production.
Equipped with new knowledge about bumblebee identification, insect nets and containers, the students went for a walk in the garden looking for bumblebee queens, hoping to find different species. Amidst the buzz of countless bees some majestic queens were observed, and two were captured for a short time so that everybody could get a closer look.
Spring is an important period, the bumblebee queen must either find or build a nest before she can begin to mother a new generation of workers, drones, and eventually new queens. In the period from April to June, queens are usually observed foraging for nests or collecting nectar for the first workers.
In Norway, and in many parts of the world, bumblebees are disappearing. Some species are lost, others endangered. To counter this, La Humla Suse arranges courses to encourage more citizens to participate in bumblebee research by registering the different species found in the garden or nearby surroundings. Having this knowledge makes it easier to promote policies that encourage and protect diversity.
This excursion encouraged reflections over the interconnectedness of different life forms and led to discussions on the importance of knowing what we might stand to lose.