Sam Droege: Bee Mythbuster

by Catherine Howell

ARMN members, Master Gardeners, and others who had the good judgment to attend an information session at Fairlington Community Center on October 10 were rewarded with two hours of advanced training––and a lot of bee-themed standup, courtesy of Sam Droege.

Photo courtesy of Caroline Hayes

Photo courtesy of Caroline Haynes

Droege, a wildlife management expert with the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, shared his vast wisdom about North American bees, their habits, and their undisputed value as pollinators, while busting some of the myths surrounding the often-misunderstood insects.

Based at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Droege has designed and carried out surveys and inventories of birds and amphibians, but bees are his current passion. His survey efforts involve photographing hundreds of the 4,000 North American bee species at close range and high definition and making them available to researchers and the public to view and use. These stunning photos can be seen at www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml Continue reading

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ARMN Members Recognized in Banisteria

By Christine Campe-Price

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The USDA and US National Park Service (NPS) – George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) recently published an article in Banisteria, Number 41, 2013, a journal devoted to the natural history of Virginia. The article documents the results of a study of leaf beetles found in Great Falls Park, Turkey Run Park, Dyke Marsh Wildlife Refuge, and Little Hunting Creek. 107 species were found, of which 3 were documented for the first time in Virginia.  This study increases the number of known Chrysomelidae leaf beetles in the Potomac River Gorge to 187 species.

7 ARMN members were acknowledged for their contributions to the study. Under the guidance of Erik Oberg, NPS Biologist and ARMN Instructor, they “diligently” sorted specimens from malaise trap samples. ARMN members continue to support this service project, collecting, sorting, and mounting insects. The current focus is on microwasps.

Volunteers were previously recognized for their contributions in another paper (Banisteria, Number 39, 2012) and were awarded in October 2012 the George and Helen Hartzog Award for an Outstanding Volunteer Group by the Eastern Capital Region of the National Park Service.

The volunteers’ meticulous work, totaling over 1100 hours in the last two and a half years, enables scientists to focus their time and knowledge on difficult and highly specialized species identification.

This on-going service is a fine example of the value of Citizen Science and the positive impact volunteers can have in furthering science. Congrats to all the ARMN members who support this meaningful service project!