The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) manages 196 acres of vernal pool habitat for the purposes of wetland and listed species mitigation in Central Point, Oregon.  Vernal pools are a locally significant wetland type that supports unique plants and macro-invertebrate communities, including three state and federal protected species: vernal pool fairy shrimp ((Branchinecta lynchi), Cook’s desert parsley (Lomatium cookii) and large-flowered wooly meadowfoam (Limnanthes pumila spp. grandiflora).  This unique site is a mix of oak woodland, oak savannah and open prairie/chaparral habitat with vernal pools occurring throughout the site.  In 2015, ODOT began a partnership with the Bee Girl organization to both provide pollination services for flowering plants, and also to monitor and document pollinator diversity in this rare and special habitat.  Monitoring project manager, Sarah Red-Laird, will give a talk highlighting the history of this unique partnership, and the current findings including: vernal pool native flowers that honey bees love, the relationships observed between honey bees and native bees, and the diversity of species of bees that this corner of Oregon hosts.

Presenter: Sarah Red-Laird, Bee Girl

Sarah Red-Laird is the founder and Executive Director of the Bee Girl organization, a nonprofit with a mission to educate and inspire communities to conserve bees, their flowers, and our food system. She is a graduate of the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation with a degree in Resource Conservation, focused on community collaboration and environmental policy. Aside from running the Bee Girl organization’s programs, Sarah is the Kids and Bees Director for the American Beekeeping Federation, is an active member of the Northwest Farmers Union, the Western Apicultural Society’s Oregon Director, the Regional Representative for the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association, and a brand ambeesador for Mountainsmith. When she is not tirelessly working with bees, beekeepers, kids, farmers, land managers, and policy makers, Sarah heads for the hills with a camera, backpack, and her best friend, Sophie the Yellow Lab.