We raised over $28K!

Image of two people with nets overlooking cliff.

Hey friends! It’s been a couple weeks since the end of our ioby crowdfunding campaign for the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante project, and I have some truly exciting news to share with you: we raised over $28,000! This means we are fully funded to get our team of four back on the ground to study and film this exquisitely beautiful little world of bees in one of the most amazing places on Earth. Thank you, one and all, for your support! We would not be doing this without you. More updates from the field will be coming soon! Be sure to follow us right here at BEESofGSENM.com.

Get yourself a Bee Badge!

Image of eight different Bee Badges.

A few days ago, we posed a question: In these last two weeks of crowdfunding for the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante, how many more people can help pollinate this project with $5 of support?

Well, let’s sweeten the deal: Anyone who contributes $5 or more in the next 5 days (through Tuesday, April 23) will receive a kick-ass Bee Badge!

These digital badges are based on Joe Wilson’s amazing photo work and represent just a sliver of the immense diversity of bees in the national monument. We have eight Bee Badges to choose from! Perfect for profile photos or wearing on the digital lapel of your web presence.

To date, we’ve had only two $5 contributions. And that is just surprising! Because if there’s one thing we can learn from the bees around us, it’s that the tiniest things often make a huge difference.

So lend your support with just $5 in the next 5 days, and get a Bee Badge that will make you the envy of all your digital friends. (Not to mention earning our deepest gratitude for helping to move this project forward.)

Thank you, friends!

To get your Bee Badge: Make a donation of $5 or more by April 23, 2019, through our ioby fundraising page. On the last step of the checkout process, do two things. 1. Type the name of your preferred bee in the “Display me publicly as” box; you can include your name and the bee name, or just the bee name. 2. Make sure the “Please share my email address with the leader(s) of this project” box is checked; Bee Badges will be delivered by email, so we need to know your address. When all that is complete, start thinking of all the ways you can digitally display your Badge!

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With two weeks left, it’s the little things that make a big difference

Image of tiny bee on a quarter.

The snow has melted. Tax Day is over. No more waiting for Game of Thrones. These distractions have passed and now we can focus on something really important: There are only two more weeks in our ioby crowdfunding campaign for the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante!

The level of support we’ve received over the past month and a half has been astounding. But there’s an interesting fact hidden in this outpouring of generosity: We’ve only had two $5 contributions. This is really surprising! Because if there’s one thing we can learn from the bees around us, it’s that the tiniest things often make a huge difference!

So let’s give a special shout-out to our $5 contributors – high-fives and many thanks for making a difference! In these last two weeks, how many more people can help pollinate this project with $5 of support?

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Center for Biological Diversity supports the Bees of GSENM

Macro image of a bee, upclose and personal.

We are thrilled to announce that the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante has the support of the Center for Biological Diversity!

“We’re proud to support this great project, which will simultaneously help raise awareness of the amazingly rich diversity of our native bees and also the huge importance of our public lands for protecting that diversity,” says Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit organization made up of activists, scientists and lawyers dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places through science, law and creative media. This one line from their mission says it all: “We want those who come after us to inherit a world where the wild is still alive.”

You might be familiar with the Center’s work generally from a recent New York Times story about how secretary of the interior nominee David Bernhardt effectively killed a four-year study into the impact that three widely-used pesticides could have on 1,400 endangered species. But you should also know that the Center for Biological Diversity has a strong commitment to protecting bees and other pollinators specifically. For example, in just the past six months, the Center has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list two bees – the Mojave Poppy bee and the Gulf Coast solitary bee – as endangered species. And in 2017, the Center published Pollinators in Peril, a systematic status review of native bees in North America that shows 749 species are likely in decline.

“At a time when both native bees and public lands face unprecedented threats, this project could not be more timely and needed,” Lori Ann says.

We are extremely grateful to the Center for Biological Diversity for its generous contribution to our project. Combined with the incredible support we continue to receive from individuals across the country, our total is now over $13,000!

Thank you one and all for helping move the Bees of GSENM forward! Our crowdfunding campaign has been extended through the end of April, so let’s spread the word and keep this momentum going!

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We’re extending the deadline!

Image of road from inside a truck.

Important news, everyone: We’re extending our ioby campaign through the end of April! Figuring out this crowdfunding piece of the project has been a fascinating learning experience. And one thing we’ve learned is that while one month might be enough time to build momentum – we need two months to keep it rolling!

Our crowdfunding total has been slowly climbing towards our goal, so we want to give that time to continue. Many people have reached out to us and asked if March is the only time they can contribute – would there be ways to add support in the following weeks? We also have some really exciting things coming our way in the next month. And, as previously mentioned, working with ioby means we get to keep whatever amount we raise, which will help cover our cost for getting back on the ground. So, for all these reasons, we’ve decided to push our crowdfunding deadline to April 30.

Big thanks to all of you who have contributed to the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante so far! We are most grateful! And we’re absolutely thrilled for the opportunities ahead.

More soon!

“If you don’t meet your goal, is the project still a go?”

Image of people and truck on desert rocks.

An excellent question. And the answer is: Yes!

Everyone on the team is committed to carrying out this research and producing a film to share with all of you. If we don’t meet our fundraising goal before we hit the ground in the spring, then of course we’ll need to adjust how we spend our funds. But we’re still moving forward with our plans.

The wonderful thing about working with ioby is that we get to keep whatever amount we end up raising. Which means every contribution – no matter how big or how small – makes a difference!

And when the crowdfunding campaign ends, that doesn’t mean our fundraising efforts are done. Far from it! Our ioby campaign is just one of several sources of support that we’re pursuing. In fact, we’re going to be fundraising right up until the moment we hit the road and head back to the monument. (And then fundraising again the moment we get back for future stages of the project.)

So, whatever amount we raise before returning to Grand Staircase-Escalante this spring will absolutely help cover the costs of getting back there. Which makes sharing this exquisite little world of bees with you – and the world – so much easier!

Many thanks and much gratitude to everyone who has already contributed!

The Fundraising Tour

Just returned from several days on the road talking up the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante, fundraising, and getting to meet some of the coolest people in the bee biz. (Also preparing for another fundraising event this coming weekend.)

The Bee Lab

First stop on the trip was the USGS Bee Lab in Maryland to visit with with Sam Droege. Sam and his crew have made a lot of amazing contributions to the world of biological fieldwork and field research, but his up-close-and-personal photos of bees and other insects have been absolutely inspiring to me. Check out the Lab’s every-growing collection of images on Instagram and Flickr.

Image of Sam Dreoge at microscope.

The Smithsonian

Next stop was a visit to the bee collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC! I had a great conversation with Sean Brady, Silas Bossert, and Chris Meyer about bees, research practices, and maintaining a biological collection of this size (no small feat).

Image of big Indonesia bees.

They also took me on a tour of the collection. You know that giant Indonesian bee that was recently rediscovered? The Smithsonian has a pair of specimens. They’ve also got a couple specimens of Franklin’s bumble bee – which has most likely gone extinct in North America, almost completely unnoticed.

Images of bumble bee specimens.

The Fundraising

Over the weekend I attended two fundraising events for the project in the Washington DC area. I was thrilled with how many people came out to watch the trailer and talk about our project! It’s always great to be in a room full of people who are genuinely interested and want to know more. Many thanks to everyone who joined us and have since supported the project!

This weekend we’ll be hosting another fundraising event at home in the Finger Lakes of New York state. Looking forward to another viewing of the trailer and more great conversation about the bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante. If you’re in the area, come join us!