Bring together your community to build bee habitat and support citizen science!
This instructable covers the steps we followed to organize a community event at our makerspace that helped build over 30 bee houses for Yukon’s native solitary cavity nesting bees.
Wildlife biologist Maria Leung had an idea for a large citizen scientist project and needed help making it happen. Maria presented her plan to build bee houses at a YuKonstruct meeting and our volunteers assisted her in organizing two “Work Bees” at the makerspace. The Work Bees attracted crowds of people interested in learning about local pollinators, and more than 30 bee houses were quickly constructed by many helping hands (and the makerspace’s tools). The bee houses will now be used to monitor Yukon’s native solitary cavity nesting bees.
More about this event on our blog: http://yukonstruct.com/2016/05/25/work-bee/
Bee house instructable: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Bee-H...
YuKonstruct is the first makerspace in Canada's north. Our mission is to provide access to shared space, quality tools, available expertise, and a collaborative environment to help makers build anything!
Step 1: Planning & Promotion
The first step for organizing any event is to come up with a plan.
- What will you need?
- When will the event take place?
- Who is doing what?
We worked with wildlife biologist Maria Leung to determine what materials and tools would be needed to build the bee houses for her citizen science project (list of bee house materials and tools).
In addition to the supplies for the bee house construction, we also planned to serve light refreshments and provide participants with instruction sheets so they could put what they learned at the event to use building their own backyard bee habitat. If you are offering food or drinks, be sure to check that you are following your local regulations. In our case, we did not need a permit to serve purchased pre-made snacks (mostly cookies and fruit).
We scheduled the two Work Bees on evenings when there was nothing else happening at the makerspace and our volunteers were available to help. Key volunteers were assigned responsibilities such as setting up the space and refreshments, greeting participants, and supervising the workstations.
Because this event included participants using the makerspace's tools, we prepared liability forms for people to sign before they could participate (and potentially injure themselves). We made sure that we had sufficient safety gear available (mostly safety glasses) and that supervising volunteers were well versed in the makerspace's safety rules and emergency procedures.
To promote the Work Bees we created event listings on our website and facebook events. We advertised the events in our makerspace newsletter and the local free paper. We were able to use some money from the Yukon Environmental Awareness Fund to pay for facebook promotion, and the resulting ads were extremely popular (people love bees and free community events!).
Step 2: Set Up the Workspace
We set up workstations at the makerspace to create an assembly-line like process for completing the bee houses.
The appropriate tools were set out at each station, and a volunteer was responsible for guiding participants through the process for each step. Volunteers prepped the materials by pre-cutting the wood for the main body of the bee houses, and starting the holes.
All of the drills were in full operation at the event in order to complete the labour-intensive first step of boring 1,800 six-inch deep holes!
By dividing the work into stations, participants could move between the various tasks without having to spend too much time on any one particular job.
We had beautiful weather for the first Work Bee and therefore were able to put the workstations in the yard, to give everyone lots of room. For the second Work Bee, rain forced us into the shop, but fortunately the rain also meant we had fewer participants so it wasn't too crowded.
Step 3: During the Event
It was important to us that participants at the event enjoyed their experience and learned about Yukon's solitary cavity nesting bees.
An information table was set up with a display of local bee species, and their habitat. Wildlife biologist Maria Leung was on hand to answer questions and share her enthusiasm for pollinators.
Coloring pages and bee costumes were available to keep young participants (or the young at heart) occupied.
We also served light refreshments including cookies, fruit and juice.
Volunteers greeted people as they arrived, provided tours of the makerspace and thanked everyone who came out to help with the project.