To succeed in developing workable change, we need to bring together people in the Bay Area with different perspectives on issues related to pollinator habitat. The goals of the day include networking, sharing what’s worked / what hasn’t worked, and brainstorming how we might be able to work together on projects moving forward. We are looking to gather a diverse group that represents different avenues through which habitat is preserved / created: nurseries, landscape designers, city planners, educators, Master Gardeners, beekeepers, etc. Given the recent devastating fires and upcoming changes to regulations to create defensible space, we are hoping we can also get members of the emergency management, fire fighters, inspectors, etc to the table as well.
How did this event come about? In 2016, Marin was the site for the first Bee Audacious conference. It was inspired by an editorial in Bee Culture magazine by Mark Winston, Professor and Senior Fellow, Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Winston was a world renowned bee researcher prior to his work at the Centre for Dialogue and is the author of several books including, “Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive,” which won the Canadian 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction.
Beekeepers from across the Northern Hemisphere organized Bee Audacious, a collaborative working conference to envision bold, evidence-based solutions to help honeybees, wild bees, beekeepers and pollination managers prosper. Participants represented a diverse group, including international bee experts, beekeepers, farmers, community organizers and more.
This was not a traditional conference, but one guided by the methods utilized at the Simon Fraser University Center for Dialogue and Thomas Seeley’s “Five Habits of Highly Effective Hives”. There were few speeches. Most of the time was spent in small groups in active dialogue started from an agenda developed in advance by the participants. We gathered a group of constructive, collaborative and thoughtful people (from 24 US states and 6 countries) who brought experience from a wide variety of fields that produce impacts on pollinators. The ten thought leaders moderated participants in active dialogues to develop bold, feasible, evidence-based solutions for the future health of bees and the prosperity of those who manage them.
Following the main conference, the thought leaders led a panel discussion that was open to the public and moderated by Doug McConnell and presented in partnership with Dominican University’s Institute for Leadership Studies and the Department of Natural Sciences and Math.
As the final report noted, almost every session, no matter what the topic, touched on the essential importance of habitat for managed and wild bees. One core group of outcomes from Bee Audacious included many ideas to protect the integrity, diversity and overall health of the agricultural, natural, urban and in-between ecosystems upon which bees – and other species – depend.
Several projects are currently under development based on this area of consensus, including a documentary, a second international Bee Audacious conference in 2020 (location TBA), and a website to help promote local efforts to support planting habitat (tenbytenplusten.com) …and of, course, the May 1, 2019 Bay Area Bee Audacious conference!