The Gund Institute for Environment at UVM announced its first Apis Fund awards today, which will catalyze new research and conservation efforts for endangered bee pollinators, thanks to a recent $500,000 anonymous gift.
The three newly funded projects, awarded a total of over $10,000, will measure changes in bee populations in the face of climate change, explore pollinator-friendly solar installations in Vermont, and create original artworks to improve public awareness of eight endangered bee species.
The three projects receiving Apis Fund Awards for 2020 are:
Guanacaste Dry Forest Conservation Fund (GDFCF) is the Vermont-based non-profit partner of the Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), a 169,000-hectare system of protected areas in Costa Rica. GDFCF, in partnership with the University of Guelph, will analyze a decade’s worth bee species from across elevational gradients, using DNA to identify bees and how they change over space and time. The project will improve our ability to measure changes in Central American pollinator populations in the face of climate change. Collaborators include Eric Palola and Monique Gilbert of Guanacaste Dry Forest Conservation Fund, Alex Smith of the University of Guelph, Laurence Packer of York University, and Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs of the University of Pennsylvania.
Matthew Burke, a Gund Postdoctoral Fellow, will explore how to best integrate solar energy facilities, pollinator and bird habitats, and grazing and crop production within Vermont’s landscapes. This integration has the potential to resolve siting conflicts relating to conversion of farmland and forests, enhance the functions and benefits of solar landscapes, and encourage a better approach to the development of solar energy. The project will include a two-day workshop, connecting experts and stakeholders to assess the scope and integration of existing practices and address barriers to adoption and expansion, and institutional requirements needed for long-term success. Burke will work with members of Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, and UVM’s Stephanie Hurley and Kimberley Hagen.
Connecting art and science, Kristian Brevik’s project, “Ghosts of Extinction Yet to Come: Vermont Pollinators,” will create large-scale illuminated sculpture installations of eight species of threatened wild bee species. In doing so, the project will help address the lack of public awareness of the breadth of diversity of bees in Vermont and the threats that they face. The lanterns will be displayed at various events this year paired with educational information on species to promote the conservation and recovery of bees to several audiences, especially those not typically reached by scientific publications and communications. Brevik is a PhD student in UVM’s Department of Plant and Soil Science and plans to collaborate with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and Burlington Parks and Recreation.
Named after the scientific name for honeybees, the Apis Fund catalyzes projects that support wild and managed bee pollinators, which are essential for the world’s food supply – and Vermont agriculture – but experiencing steep declines from climate change, disease, pesticides, and habitat loss. The fund supports efforts by Vermont-based organizations in North America, Central America, and exchanges and collaborations between these regions.
The Gund Institute for Environment has led internationally recognized research on bees and other pollinators, including the first map of U.S. bee declines, how bees improve crop yields, the impacts of climate change on bees, and the striking decline of Vermont bumblebees. Learn more about our research on bees.
Apis Fund Proposals are evaluated on four criteria: relevance to Apis Fund mission and scope, strength and novelty of the overall project, leverage with other resources, and potential for impact.