Bee Real, Bee Everywhere

The Bee Real, Bee Everywhere project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between researcher Colleen Satyshur and artists Christine Baumler, Amanda Lovelee, and Julie Benda. Imagined as an experiment in providing places for bees to thrive in urban environments, four floating bee “skyrises” house removable cavity-nesting bee blocks. The blocks are arranged in the sculptures to create a comparison between East and South facing blocks and nest holes of different sizes.

Bee sculpture

Pollinator Skyrise at the Weisman Art Museum, with flowering Bee Lawn. Photo credit, Marla Spivak

 

 

Science

The sculptures contain mini-experiments to help us learn about nesting sites that we make for bees. By setting up each skyrise with equal numbers of wood blocks facing each direction and equal numbers of holes of each size, we have a fair comparison to learn:

  • Do bees prefer their nests facing East or South?
  • What size hole do they prefer?

By repeating these patterns in different skyrises, we can see if our comparisons are reliable and trustworthy for bees in many places.

 

Nest blocks are put into the sculptures in the early spring and removed in the late fall when they are taken back to the lab to see what bees are nesting in them. In addition, the lab team analyzes samples of leaf pieces from the nests to find out what plants leaf-cutting bees are using to build their nests. We are making the data from this project available for teachers and students who would like to integrate it into learning plans.

Collecting a leaf sample

Photo credit, Thea Evans

 

Art

Visit the skyrises at the following locations:

Lake Como

Lake Phalen

Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom

Weisman Art Museum

 

For more information about the art in this multi-faceted project, visit Public Art St. Paul, and the Weisman Art Museum