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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Local neighborhoods, Portland, Oregon, USA

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Local neighborhoods, Portland, Oregon, USA
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staple503



Registered: December 2010
City/Town/Province: Portland
Posts: 1
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Influenced by the surrounding natural beauty the Northwest has to offer, I am pursuing an education in environmental studies to work toward being involved in animal and habitat conservation. It is my hope that I will be able to learn more about and help protect our environment, which many abuse and take for granted. Along with the environment comes the vast amount of species whose livelihoods are threatened by human presence and negligence, but can be preserved by human intervention as well. I decided to do an Apprentice Ecologist project for this very reason; it is possible for people to help reverse the negative impact we are having on our environment. With knowledge, motivation, development of new technologies, and the willingness to make some changes, we can co-exist on earth with the other millions of species and continue to live more than comfortably.


Of all the species that humans share the planet with, there is one that really stands out for me, one whose survival is critical to maintaining a balance in the environment. The species whose extinction would be a huge deficit and dangerous turning point, are the various types of pollinator bees. Over the past few decades, studies have been published that show an alarming decrease in bee populations. Since the introduction of the European honeybees, farmers have relied on them for pollination because of their ability to pollinate at such high rates. Because of these European bees’ success, farmers were able to strip the land of its natural vegetation and replace it with more crops. The use of pesticides on these crops and the destruction of their natural habitats has tremendously impacted native bee species around Oregon. The once highly abundant bumble bee is now rarely seen. Even worse, along with the decline of the native bee species, the European honeybees have been seeing huge drops due to the spread of diseases and something called Colony Collapse Disorder, an issue with a number of causal factors that has forced nearly one-third of colonies across the country to just disappear. The decline in both native and non-native bee populations needs to be addressed right away because 67% of plant species need pollinators to reproduce, and the plants that require pollinators make up one-third of the American diet.


After exploring some options as to how I could help contribute to bee preservation, I came across the design of a homemade beehive that one can place in their yard. With constant changes of their natural habitats, the areas where they would normally build their homes are not always available. These artificial hives serve as sturdy, reliable, replacement homes for the bees. The project that I decided to create was to ask around to my neighbors, family, and friends if they would assist me by agreeing to have one of these homes placed in their yards and/or have native and gardening seeds planted to provide a steady food source for the bees. In total, I received permission from over thirty homes, many of whom were willing to have more than one hive placed on their property in the springtime. I, with the assistance of my parents, purchased the materials necessary to build the hives and did all of the carpentry. My thinking was that if I took on the expenses, the more willing people would be to become the adoptive parents of bees. The goal was to make this project as easy on the people I was appealing to because of the fear many have toward bees and their ability to sting. Fortunately, the benefits far outweigh the downside because pollinator bees are naturally not very aggressive toward humans and they can help a garden flourish if they decide to inhabit the homes.


This project has really shown me how easy it is to make an impact in your community as long as you use a little bit of persistence and reach out to your network of family and friends. I simply sent out a message to everyone I’m close with, and from there many of them forwarded the message to a few others they thought might want one as well. All of the positive responses people gave me was really incredible because I realized many are willing to contribute to important causes, there just has to be someone from their social network to be the catalyst rather than a stranger on the street handing out flyers. When one of your own reaches out for support, people tend to jump out to lend a helping hand. The feedback from this project has made me more interested in and given me more confidence in trying to accomplish other projects in the future. A lot could be done, especially if I were to team up with some friends and combine all of our skills and resources.


Preservation of bees is just one of many issues, but their decline serves as a model for the greater issue at hand. Our own expansion as a human population may not be sustainable, because we will need to continue occupying land to feed our people, which in turn may kill off the very creatures that would make the production possible. In order to continue living on this planet, we need to utilize more environmental practices and take care of all that Mother Nature provides us.
Date: December 31, 2010 Views: 6059 File size: 19.0kb, 270.5kb : 768 x 1024
Hours Volunteered: 60
Volunteers: 3
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 19 & 18 to 52
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