Intellectually I know that it is important not to conceptualize nature as separate from urban areas, but realistically I associate escaping into nature with a 4 hour car ride. So, what is all the buzz about re-connecting people to nature in urban environments?
Ryan and Mark both recently posted blogs which touched on the importance of fostering an appreciation for nature in urban environments. I grew up and currently live in the East San Francisco Bay area, but I was one of the fortunate kids who was shipped off to the Sierras Nevada’s for the summers. Like most kids who get the opportunity to experience full days outside; swimming, hiking, and generally wandering about, it began my love affair with the outdoors. In college I studied wildlife and conservation biology and, if asked I would have been quick to attribute my conservation ethic to my childhood summers spent communing with “nature”. Intellectually I know that it is important not to conceptualize nature as separate from urban areas, but realistically I associate escaping into nature with a 4 hour car ride. Ryan and Mark’s posts got me reflecting about where I see, and when I think about nature in my urban life. So I thought I would contribute a little about beekeeping, as an example of an activity that helps remind me the nature that is all around us, even in cities.
Bee keeping has changed the way I look at urban nature in a few ways. Before I started keeping bees I could tell you the difference between a Jeffrey and Ponderosa pine but I couldn’t tell you the name of any of the non-native trees growing on my street. As a bee keeper I am interested and curious about what the ecology of landscaping plants that used to be of little interest to me. I also have developed an eye for bees. I notice them all over the place now, and I am interested in what they are doing. Also a lot more people than I would have expected are really interested when they find out I am keeping bees and ask all sorts of questions. Their questions have lead me to do a lot of additional reading, and they provide an awesome opportunity to talk and think about basic ecology and nature. My partner and I complied a few of the most common questions:
Oakland Museum of California’s Bee Exhibit
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