Orchard Bee Monitoring – fait accompli

Photo Jerry Nissley

For the last three years or so there existed the FMN Citizen Science opportunity, C252 – Native Orchard Bee Monitoring. Many Virginia Master Naturalists throughout the state participated including several FMN members, by installing Orchard Bee boxes in their yards or community, recording and reporting statistics and observations, and returning boxes for laboratory study to the chief scientist, Kate Leroy –  PhD candidate in University of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Sciences.

On May 27, 2021 Ms. LeCroy successfully defended her dissertation – All About Mason Bees. She presented an entertaining and very informative hour-long video via Zoom. The cameo appearance by Dolly Parton put it over the top!

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.

That will be the beginning.”

                                                                                                    – Louis L’Amour

Mason Bee Box with 5 chambers occupied – Photo Jerry Nissley

I thought the above quote is appropriate from several perspectives of the project. For contributing community scientists – it is not often that we actually get to see results of a project. Kate’s presentation details the amount of additional analysis that begins in the lab once field data is collected. For Kate – the completion of this PhD phase simply opens the door to the beginning of so much more in her career.

Kate kept the lines of communications open with her contributors during the data collection phase and graciously thanked all of her supporters from colleagues to community scientists in her presentation. She even included photos and I recognized at least a few FMN faces (see video mark 39.30). Interestingly, a pie-chart in her presentation indicated that 45% of her contributing team was made up of community scientists. For example, in 2019 Kate had 102 sites contributing field data. Kate contacted VMN at the beginning of her research and Michelle Prysby helped her established a service project code that then filtered out to the various statewide chapters. Her presentation acknowledged 29 VMN chapters.

Congratulations to Kate for her success thus far. Given her knowledge, energy, and gracious spirit, feel confident that her success will continue throughout her career.

Kate gave permission to include a video link to her dissertation defense:

Kate’s Dissertation Defense Link:  linked here   Passcode: 28G6$ybS

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