Second Annual BeeBlitz: Sat, June 16, 2018!

On Saturday, June 16th, we will jump-start National Pollinator Week with the second annual St. Louis BeeBlitz at Forest Park. All it takes is a camera, a patch of flowers, and you!

After a crash course in “bee photography”, we will work in teams to conduct photo surveys. Your photographs will help biologists track bee populations around the nation through BeeSpotter, a web-based citizen science program hosted by the University of Illinois. Throughout the event, you will learn about bee biology and how you can support wild bee populations.

The St. Louis BeeBlitz is organized by the St. Louis Bee Brigade (a collaboration between Webster University, St. Louis University, BeeSpotter of the University of Illinois), Academy of Science of St. Louis, St. Louis Zoo, and Forest Park Forever.

Event details:

Registration is required, but the event is FREE and OPEN to anyone over the age of 10. Space is limited, so please register early. To register a group of more than 4 people, please contact Nicole Miller-Struttmann (nicolem42@webster.edu, 314-246-7628 (office), or 314-218-5307 (cell)).

On Saturday, June 16th, 2018 from 10:30AM-1:00PM, you can find us on the east side of the Forest Park Forever Visitor & Education Center. We will be walking to different locations throughout the park, so please arrive promptly at 10:30AM!

Visitor & Education Center

Forest Park Forever

5595 Grand Drive in Forest Park

St. Louis, MO 63112

In the case of inclement weather, we will contact you via email with updates and/or alternative activities.

Help us spread the word by circulating our BeeBlitz flier to anyone you think might be interested!

The bees need your help!! Recent declines in insect pollinators, especially bees, have gained international attention. The reasons for these declines are complicated, and scientists are enlisting the help of citizens to provide much needed data to figure out why. Using photographs taken by anyone with a cell phone or digital camera, we can keep track of these mobile, widespread species. However, we cannot do it alone! We need your help to make this monitoring program a success!

The St. Louis Bee Brigade was created by scientists at Webster University, St. Louis University, and BeeSpotter to collaborate with citizens in tracking bee populations. With your help, we hope to build much-needed baseline data for determining how and why bumble bee populations are changing in the St. Louis region. Your participation will help us locate populations of rare or threatened species, determine patterns of bee abundance and diversity, and build connections among concerned citizens in the region. It's easy! It takes just 2 simple steps:

  1. Take photograph(s) of a bumble bee or honey bee
  2. Login and submit your photographs to BeeSpotter!

At this time, we are focused on bumble bees and honey bees, because they are important native pollinators of wild and cultivated plants.

If you can’t join us for the St. Louis BeeBlitz,

contribute to BeeSpotter on your own! Just go outside, take some photographs of bees, and upload them to BeeSpotter. That’s it! Our experts will identify your bee and let you know when it’s publicly visible on BeeSpotter!

Here’s how you can get involved:

1. Create an account

2. Add your bee spotting

Are you new to the world of bee photography? Check out BeeSpotter's Guide to photographing bees.

Other helpful links:

Solar Eclipse Celebration on Monday, August 21st, 2017!

At 1:17PM on Monday, August 21st, 2017, the St. Louis region was cast into darkness by a total solar eclipse. Over 800 people joined Webster University faculty, staff, and students in celebrating this amazing event (the last one occurred almost 100 years ago!). Festivities will commence at 11AM at the East Academic Building on Webster University's St. Louis campus. Webster University professors, including your-truly, engaged participants in activities based on the science behind eclipses. We then observed the eclipse in all its glory from the top of the Garden Avenue Parking garage!

In order to better understand the biological impacts of a total eclipse, my collaborators from the University of Missouri and I implemented the Beeclipse Citizen Science Program. We invited 5th and 6th graders from five cities in four states along the path of totality to acoustically monitor bee activity during and after totality. Over 340 students from Steger 6th Grade center in Webster Groves participated in the program! They designed a protocol to documented bee activity using audio recorders, and helped professional scientists analyze the data using Audacity, a free sound analysis program.

Click here to see photos from the event and enjoy the video presentations (my presentation "A Wrinkle in Biological Time" begins 1 hour and 21 minutes into the video).


Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to enhancing the public understanding of science. I continue this work as a faculty member at Webster University working with St. Louis area teachers to enhance science learning, citizen scientists to monitor local bee populations, and regional science foundations to reach broad publics interested in STEM.

As a post-doc at the University of MIssouri, I administred as a mentor to and educator of the next generation of science communicators through the ShowMe Nature GK-12 program at the University of Missouri (learn more about ShowMe Nature GK-12). In addition to mentoring graduate fellows as they engaged 4th and5th grade students in authentic research experiences, I taught a course designed to enhance fellow communication skills to the broader public. As part of this course, fellows create Virtual Research Broadcasts, which bring a portion of their research that is normally not accessible to their students (such as laboratory work or field excursions) into the classroom.

I also established the Ecology Teaching Team of the Young Scientist Program and mentored three high school students in the YSP Summer Focus Program. Through one-on-one interactions with scientists and independent research experiences, YSP encourages and supports students from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds in pursuing scientific careers.

Alex Lobzhanidze, a graduate student in Computer Science, and me illustrating a Virtual Research Broadcast (VRB) to ShowMe Nature GK-12 graduate students. VRBs engage K-12 students in laboratory and field research that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.