Crossroads at Big Creek is shaping up for a colorful event next weekend when the Door County Beekeepers Club will hold their Community Honey Harvest on Saturday, August 24 from 9 am -12 pm. To prepare for this sweet occasion, family programs this week will all focus on bees and other pollinators.
The topic for the Tuesday (August 20) family program will be “Flower Shapes.” In the PBS companion book The Sex Life of Flowers (which can be read without blushing,) Bastiaan Meeuse and Sean Morris wrote, “The shape, or rather the architecture, of a flower is largely determined by the number, size and design of its sepals, petals, and stamens, and is dictated by a number of needs. It is necessary to align the
visitor so that it has the maximum chance of contacting the flowers’ sexual organs; to protect the anthers from damage by rain; to exclude visitors of the incorrect type or size; to protect the nutritious ovules against the onslaught of herbivores; to provide various ‘spring loaded’ pollen-depositing mechanism; and of course, to attract visitors in the first place.”
“Bee and the Spectrum” will be the family program topic on Wednesday (August 21). Curiously, bees do not respond to the red end of the spectrum, but do detect a “color,” ultraviolet — which we humans cannot see. This means, that flower petals look quite different to bees and most have lines or marking which act as directional guides to show bees where the nectar is located.
The family program on Thursday (August 22) will focus on pollen. When bees go out to forage, some gather pollen (or propalis, i.e. sticky sap from tree buds), which they carry back to the hive on their legs. They also collect liquids, which they carry in a specialized stomach called the honey crop. Honeybees can gather water or nectar — but not both at the same time. And every hive has hundreds of bees out every day collecting water from dew and or other sources.
Crossroads at Big Creek is a donor-supported learning center made up of three preserves. The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan in Sturgeon Bay, is open daily 10 am – 4 pm and during scheduled events. Trails and restrooms are open 24/7 and are free and open to the public.
Crossroads at Big Creek Events, August 20 – 24, 2019:
Tuesday, August 20
10:00 am: Family Program: Flower Shapes
Flowers are exquisite and their shapes are not random. Learn how flower shapes help ensure that bees and other insects pollinate the plant. Indoor lesson will be followed by outdoor observation in the Crossroads Bird and Butterfly Garden. Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.
Wednesday, August 21
10:00 am: Family Program: Bees and the Spectrum
Do bees have a favorite color? Do they see the colors we see? Stunning videos and outside observations will help learners of all ages to understand the relationships between pollinators and flowers. Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.
Thursday, August 22
10:00 am: Family Program: Bees and Pollen
Bees use pollen for food, but how do they collect and transport it. This electrifying program will include videos and hands on activities. Meet in the Collins Learning Center. Free and open to the public.
Saturday, August 24
9:00 am–12 noon: Community Honey Harvest