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Laramie Pollinator Parties to Be Held June 16 and 21


June 11, 2012 — Two pollinator awareness and surveying parties will be held this month to increase the public's familiarity of the birds, bees and other insects that make food and flowers possible in Laramie.

Coordinated by the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center at the University of Wyoming, the parties will take place Saturday, June 16, 2 p.m., at LaBonte Park near the xeriscaped and community gardens, and Thursday, June 21, 10 a.m., at UW's Simpson Plaza. The events are free and open to the public, and will feature activities for all ages.

"The pollinator parties are family-friendly events that will focus on learning how to identify pollinator groups and, in some cases, species, and then searching for them in the gardens and nearby flowering shrubs," says co-organizer Brenna Wanous of the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center. "The primary missions of the pollinator parties are to raise awareness of the native pollinators and to gather data about which species we can find in Laramie."

Approximately 20 species of bumble bees exist in Laramie and, this time of year, they are easy to find.  She says other pollinators include hummingbirds, a variety of moths, hover flies, butterflies and many types of non-aggressive bees. 

"Bumble bees, in particular, are charismatic and very important pollinators in Laramie," says Wanous, "but they remain somewhat of a mystery. We'd like to know more about which species are here and in what densities."

"They're also gentle, non-aggressive bees that are very fun to watch and easy to catch in an insect net. That makes them perfect insects for getting close-up looks and to learn how to tell them apart," adds Dorothy Tuthill of the Berry Center.

June 18-24 is Pollinator Awareness Week, a nationwide initiative to teach the public about the diversity of pollinators in their region. Other Pollinator Week activities include a booth, hands-on activities and a pollinator costume contest at the Laramie Community Local Market Thursday, June 21, from 3-7 p.m., in Undine Park; and a week-long pollinator-oriented photo and coloring contest. For a full list of events, visit www.uwyo.edu/berrycenter.

For more information or to schedule an interview with any of the individuals listed in the release, contact Wanous at (307) 766-6240 or email bwanous@uwyo.edu.

Photo:
Bumble bees are among many pollinators in the Laramie area. (Dorothy Tuthill Photo)

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