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Webinar about bees will get RVC residents buzzing

An upcoming online workshop will teach Rocky View County residents all about one of the earth’s most important species.

An upcoming online workshop will teach Rocky View County residents about one of the earth’s most important species.

On April 28, Rocky View County (RVC) will facilitate a webinar featuring ecologist Megan Evans, the president and co-founder of the Alberta Native Bee Council.

Evans, who has been teaching Albertans about the province’s native bees for 10 years, said the session will provide an overview of what types of bees are found in Alberta, their lifecycles, habitat requirements and what individuals can do to help the species thrive. Attendees will also learn about the differences between the various types of bees that are found in Alberta, such as honeybees and native wild bees.

According to Evans, the presentation’s timing is prudent, as early spring is the time of year bees are emerging from hibernation, looking for nesting sites and food.

“Spring has sprung, in most parts of Alberta,” she said. “People are excited to be outside and they're excited to start seeing flowers bloom and to get gardening. It's always a great time to learn about bees, but spring is an especially good time because we get excited about seeing insects, bees and flowers emerge as well.”

According to RVC’s promotional material for the upcoming workshop, Evans is a professional biologist with degrees in environmental science and ecology from the University of Calgary. She spent six years working for the provincial government in a number of roles, including as an ecologist with Alberta Parks.

She co-founded the Alberta Native Bee Council in 2017 and has also sat on the boards of the Alberta Invasive Species Council (AISC) and the Entomological Society of Alberta.

Having educated Albertans on native bee species for a decade, Evans said she has noticed a growing interest in the species among the general public. She said most people understand the black and yellow insects are a foundational component of Alberta’s ecosystems.

“Not only because they pollinate agricultural crops, which is important for food and farmers’ income, but they also pollinate the native plants that are native in our wild ecosystems, and those native plants, in turn, provide habitat and food for wildlife,” she said.

While the presentation will focus primarily on bees, Evans said she will also be wearing her other hat, as the executive director of the AISC. She said her talk will touch on invasive species in Alberta and a tool that people can use to identify and report invasive species they come across.

“We'll give people tips and pointers on how to identify [invasive species] and also how to report them using our EDD Maps app,” she said, adding EDD Maps stands for “early detection and distribution mapping systems.”

“There are also built-in identification resources built into the app that people can use as well.”

The Zoom webinar will not be Evans’ first presentation to RVC audiences, as she led a similar workshop for the County in 2019.

The April 28 workshop will be held via Zoom from 7 to 9 p.m. To register for the session, visit bit.ly/3tI5hyR

Scott Strasser, AirdrieToday.com
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19

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