Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA – 2017 Annual Report

Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat

Georgia Tech enhances pollinator health and habitat both through its landscaping practices as well as creation of artificial nest sites for native bees and honey bees.

This year, a pollinator garden with signage was established outside of the Carnegie building, which houses the president’s office.

New honey bee hives were also established by the Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project at Piedmont Park in midtown Atlanta, Zoo Atlanta in Grant Park, and Aluma Farm in the Adair Park neighborhood.

Policies & Practices

One way Georgia Tech improves the environment for bees on campus by being aware of native bee nesting practices.  This year, when a large number of mining bees were mating and nesting in a grassy island in our human resources parking lot, our turf department contacted the urban honey bee project for help.  These important solitary bees were identified and left alone to make their nests.

Education & Outreach

Pollinator education and outreach at Georgia Tech is led by the Urban Honey Bee Project and includes dozens of events throughout the year including regular beekeeping classes, and educational tables at farmers markets and events.  This year’s Georgia Tech Earth Day celebration had a global theme so we celebrated bees from around the world by tasting honey from many different countries.

Service Learning

Our signature service learning program is the unique Bee-INSPIRED summer research and service program funded by the USDA.  Each summer 9 undergraduates come to Georgia Tech for a 10-week program that includes one day/week service in community gardens and urban farms around Atlanta. On the second day of the program, students had a table at a pollinator event held at the Ponce City Market farmer’s market where visitors could make seed bombs filled with pollinator-friendly seeds.

Curriculum

Pollinator-related content is included in classes across the curriculum at Georgia Tech from Introductory Biology to Ecology.  One of our unique courses is BeeSNAP, a project-based course that integrates the study of bees with computer science.  Students in the course are building smart phone apps to collect data on bees, technologies to integrate into honey bee hives, and are using big data to identify optimal bee habitat.  This year the BeeSNAP team used their digital hive scale to monitor bee behavior during the total solar eclipse.

Educational Signage

Biology students in the BeeSNAP VIP team investigated pollinator benefits provided by plants in the new garden outside the Carnegie Building.  They then used the laser cutter in the Invention Studio to produce custom acrylic signage.

Local Website & Contact Information

Georgia Tech pollinator events and information can be found at bees.gatech.edu .  For more information contact Dr. Jennifer Leavey, Director of the Urban Honey Bee Project at jennifer.leavey@cos.gatech.edu