Pollination Preservation Garden Tour at Breakneck Hill – Sunday

Above: The Bombus Fervidus once thought wiped from Massachusetts landscape was discovered several years ago at Breakneck Hill. Ongoing beecology research at the conservation land includes studying the difference in plant germination without pollinators. (images cropped from photos L-R posted to flickr by John Baker and contributed by Freddie Gillespie)

This Sunday, the Open Space Preservation Commission and Stewardship Committee are hosting a special tour. They are inviting the public to come learn about the Beecology Research Garden at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land.

P hirsutus with flowers bagged to keep pollinators out - by Freddie GillespieThe public can get an up close look at the special pollinator garden to support bees and butterflies and learn more about the [research project at the site]. This is an opportunity to learn about the significant contribution Southborough is making to scientific research. 

The event is a special opportunity since the garden is normally closed to public access. The space is being used for research by UMass Dartmouth. Since 2015, Professor Dr. Robert Geager has been studying pollinators a the site.

No registration is required to attend. Just drop in at the garden. The program will begin at 10:00 am on Sunday, June 13th. (If you can’t make it right away, they’ll be there until 11:00 am.)

Parking is on site at the community gardens. (next to 66 Breakneck Hill Road for GPS)

During the tour, Dr. Geager will give updates on his two newest research projects for  at-risk butterflies and seed production. He will discuss the values of Pollination Preservation and how the public can help. He will also share the successes already achieved from planting the BeeCology Research Garden.

Penstemon hirsutus at Breakneck Hill by Freddie GillespieIf you participated in OSPC’s Winter Sow Project, you may be interested to know that seedlings you used were collected from the Beecology Garden:

Come take a look at what your plants will look like a year or two from now. And learn how you’re helping to save biodiversity.

Organizers share good news about an at risk pollinator:

There may even be a special visit by Bombus fervidus an at-risk species of bumblebee who disappeared from Breakneck Hill in 2019 only to now have rebounded due to the efforts of the OSPC and Stewardship Committee.

B Fervidus trying to get to bagged flower by Freddie GillespieBombus fervidus is state listed as a species “Of Highest Conservation Need” was documented on June 6, 7 and 8 at the Beecology Research Garden necturing on Penstemon hirsutus which is a state listed endangered plant.

Based on his research, Dr. Gegear includes Penstemon hirsutus on his list as a preferred plant of the at-risk species of Bombus fervidus and therefore it was planted in the Beecology Research Garden. That fact the effort was successful is significant to our efforts to prevent B. fervidus from heading to extinction.

If you’re wondering why some of the flowers in the garden are bagged to keep pollinators off, that’s part of research work being done on pollination and seed germination. A graduate student participating in the research explains that in a video below. 

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Carl Guyer
1 year ago

Isn’t January a little cold for Bumblebees…….

I will show up at 10:00 PM on Sunday to let the bees know….. .

Carl Guyer
1 year ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Don’t feel alone, I said I would be there in the dark ….. ha,ha

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