Getting to know NM’s best pollinators: Native Bees

Olivia Carril

Café Scientifique New Mexico - Santa Fe Indian School


On September 25th, 2019, SFIS Café Scientifique had a café “Getting to Know New Mexico’s Best Pollinators” presented by Olivia Carril. Students were greeted at the door with a fun ‘Bee Quiz’ used as an ice breaker activity. Presenter Olivia Carril then went along showing and testing student’s knowledge of bees in New Mexico; to which many were surprised at how much we really don’t know about other-than-honey-bee bees! NM has over 1100 + species of bees!!  Some of these bees are as large as a quarter and some as small as a pin head.  We learned how to identify a bee by its basic body parts and distinguish it between a wasp, fly or other insect.  Who knew how fuzzy a bees legs were!  And some bees don’t have hairy legs but ingest the pollen and then regurgitate it. We also had fun learning some bee puns!  They were un-bee-lievably funny!  In addition to the great hands-on activities all the snacks for the presentation were pollinated by bees (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, almonds, cucumbers, and tomatoes).

Interview with Olivia Carril-Student Mario Abeyta-Ayala

Hands on Activity

When students first came in they were given a bee personality quiz.  They discovered which bee they had the most common with.  An icebreaker between ‘bees’ and ‘flowers’ was done after the personality quiz, showing students hands-on how important bee to plant relationships are as well as bee to bee relationships.  We created a living web with long pieces of yarn.  Some students got to be bees and other students were the flowers they pollinated.  Some bees had connections to all the flowers to which they might pollinate, while other bees just visited select ones. Students also learned about how solitary female bees create their nests, as well as were able to create future bee homes out of household items.  The students used paper straws, some modeling clay, twist ties and some duct tape to create these future homes for bees. With the recent decline in bee population, learning how bees pollinate was a great topic for a Cool Café!