Gorgeous Wildlife Webinar: Bees

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

6:30 p.m.

In May, Friends of the Columbia Gorge is hosting a series of Gorgeous Wildlife webinars led by local specialists in their respective fields.

The second webinar of the series features the incredible, sometimes underappreciated, hard working pollinators of the Columbia Gorge: Bees. In celebration of World Bee Day on May 20, Friends Land Trust Associate Frances Fischer and Oregon Bee Atlas Taxonomy Instructor Joe Engler will introduce us to native bees in the Gorge and discuss what Friends and Oregon Bee Atlas are doing to contribute to native pollinator research in Oregon.


Covered in hair and vibrant colors, native bees in the Columbia Gorge are diverse and vary in size, shape and adaptations that have evolved over millions of years. As pollinators, bees are important because without them, the vast majority of crops wouldn’t exist. From pollinating crops in the Hood River valley such as blueberries and squash to pollinating endemic wildflowers that bring visitors from around the world, it’s easy to see how valuable bees are for local economies.

However, it’s more complex to understand the hundreds of different kinds of bees that exist in Oregon and why their numbers are dropping at alarming rates. Research shows loss of habitat, misuse of pesticide spray, and climate change are contributing to populations declining. But there still are many things you can do to help bees survive around you.

In this webinar, Fischer and Engler explore native bees, their crucial role as pollinators for Gorge communities, what you can do to help, and how Friends and Oregon Bee Atlas are contributing to research for pollinator conservation in Oregon. The end of the webinar will include time for Q&A for participants. 

Join us live, Wednesday, May 20 at 6:30pm PDT. Register at the Zoom link below.
The webinar will be recorded and uploaded to Friends' YouTube page within a few days of the recording.

Featured speakers

Joe Engler is a native bee expert and an instructor for the Portland, Gorge, and Central Oregon areas for the Oregon Bee Atlas. Before retiring he was the Regional Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Refuge Program covering the PNW and Hawaiian Islands. He also served as the Regional Pollinator Conservation Coordinator and the Regional Monarch Conservation Coordinator. He worked on national teams for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, the IUCN's Bumble Bee Specialists Group, NatureServe, and the National Pollinator Health Task Force.

Frances Fischer, land trust associate for Friends of the Columbia Gorge, is also the organizer for the Gorge chapter of the Oregon Bee Atlas. Fischer holds a Bachelor of Science in conservation biology and ecology with a minor in entomology from Montana State University where she worked in several ecology labs studying native bees and climate change.

The Gorgeous Wildlife webinar about native bees in the Gorge is being held in observance of World Bee Day (May 20). Stay tuned for the last webinar of the three-part series centered around World Turtle Day (May 28).

Top photo: Virescent green metallic bee (Wikimedia Commons)
Bottom photo: Western bumblebee (Wikimedia Commons)