Soil Health to Go! with Sam Droege on Native Bees

Soil Health to Go! with Sam Droege on Native Bees

For our monthly  Soil Health to Go! on Wednesday, April 10, the Million Acre Challenge is digging into bees, specifically native bees. Learn how 450 species of bees (native and introduced) benefit plant and soil ecology, and how farmers and homeowners can support them while also increasing yields and pollination capacity. 

Our guest for this session is Sam Droege who works at the Interagency Bee Lab in research and support for the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, one of 17 research centers in the United States run by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The center is located in Laurel, Maryland on the grounds of the 12,841-acre (51.97 km2) Patuxent Research Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This is the only National Wildlife Refuge in the United States initially established to support wildlife research.

For most wild plants, vegetables, and orchard crops, bees represent the way a plant creates seeds. Depending on the plant, that may be an obligation or it may be a long-term investment to avoid inbreeding. If a plant has a colorful flower it will likely be pollinated by bees (there are exceptions, but bees do the heavy lifting). Everyone knows the honeybee, but the native species of bees have been here for 150 million years, pollinating our native plants. And upon closer inspection, they turn out to be doing a lot of the pollination of our crop plants. We will talk a bit about that diversity, where they intersect with pollination/yield directly in agriculture, where they fit in terms of conservation of the lands we live on, and how small changes in how we manage our lands have big impacts to both.

Sam grew up in Hyattsville, Maryland, and has always been interested in Nature.  He has worked at USGS since 1978 and now supports research on native bees to stem some of the losses to wild things that come with population growth, wealth, and disconnection from Nature. 

Join us for a free, virtual exploration from 12-12:30 on April 10th.

Register here.

The goal of the Million Acre Challenge is to support farmers in building healthy soils on one million acres of Maryland agricultural land by 2030. By joining the Challenge, you show your commitment to putting your boots on the pathway to a profitable, resilient future for your farm with healthy soils as the foundation.

Dates: Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 12-12:30 PM

Location: Virtual