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Bees are in decline – Here’s how you can help.

Flower field pollinated by kept bees.

Introduction Video

Bee Infographic

Before learning about an issue surrounding bees, I thought it would be helpful to familiarize people able the animal itself. Some people have only experienced bees as an annoyance or something that stings, but really, there are many interesting facts about their behavior and place in the ecosystem. I designed this infographic to be an informative resource for those with little knowledge on the insect.

Photo courtesy of New Zealand Geographics.

What do bees do?

Bees fly to flowers in search of nectar, all the while, spreading pollen from one plant to the next (keeping the plants reproducing and making food). After the nectar is processed into honey, it’s stored in beeswax which the bees form into a hexagon shape (making up a honeycomb). The hexagon shape creates maximum storage, leaving no wasted space like any other shape would (i.e. a circle).

Why do bees matter?

  • Bees are important to the ecosystem! If they die, so will all the plants and animals that rely on them.
  • 1/3 of the food we consume each day depended on a bee’s pollination
  • Blueberries, peppers, tomatoes, apples, peaches, grapes, and many more foods are dependent on a bee’s pollination.
  • Humans are responsible for the two most prominent causes of colony death : pesticides and habitat loss

Without bees we wouldn’t have these foods!

What is harming the bees?

I researched the possible causes of the sharp decline of bee populations and Colony Collapse Disorder online, with an Environmental Science Researcher, and bee keepers. These are my findings.

-agricultural chemicals cause pollen contamination. Examples are pesticides, fungicides, neonicotinoids {these make bees susceptible to illness}, imidacloprid, and thiaetoxin

-fertilizer runoff contaminates the water supply

-monoculture (cultivating just one crop in agriculture) there is not enough pollen for the bees to collect. It also makes their diet unvaried, leading to a decline in health

-lack of genetic diversity

-pollution of environment

-invasive species

-intensive agricultural management

-remember… SCALE is the issue.

Below are images from my visit to first a monoculture farm and secondly to a beekeeper’s hive site.

Monoculture Farm
Honeycomb
Flower field pollinated by kept bees.

What can you do to help?

Anyone can help. Here’s how….

-plant flowers, or trees that flower.

-support your local beekeepers by buying local honey

-don’t pick wild flowers when out on a hike

-don’t use harmful products on your yard or lawn

-make a bee drinking fountain

-start to keep bees yourself

Urge Government to….

-implement a 2 year ban on harmful pesticides to evaluate bee recovery

-US specific : re-implement the Monsanto Protection Act

Farming Infographic

I displayed the facts and information I gathered in a drawn infographic to display this in a more interesting manner. For each drawing, I have a correlating text-box describing how farmers can reverse the damage done to bee populations.

Campus Keychain Project

To raise awareness and educate others about this problem, I held an educational event on campus to share my research with students. I displayed my infographics and information. Students took a keychain to show their support of the issue as well as a personal pledge to make an impact.

Sketches

These are my final sketches of various inspirations for the keychain. I focused my ideas on paper before beginning the design process on Adobe. I interviewed students on my campus about this issue and found that many people feel a lack of connection from environmental issues. A first step to close this gap is understanding that as a human on this planet, you share the responsibility to care for it. My goal was to use words that would inspire ownership and a sense of personal responsibility to spark committed action. I wanted to emphasize the hashtag so young people can post about what they’ve done to impact bee colonies or search for ideas and information on social media.

Adobe Illustrator

I worked in Adobe Illustrator to design the graphic and type. I chose the bee as my image because it sends the clearest message about what the keychain is advocating for at just a glance. I chose the hexagon shape because it’s similar to the hives of bees’ and sparks interest as its unique.

Laser Cut

I then cut my design onto thin wood to form the physical keychain.

Final Product

This is the final design that was given out to Upper School students on my campus. A lot were handed out, and even more conversations were started about the new tags everyone had on their bags. The keychain provides a few quick, impactful actions to combat the decline of bees, a phrase of responsibility, and a hashtag connecting people to information/ideas. Lastly, the tag could help spread the word to educate others about how to reverse the harm done to bees and the environment.

You can make an impact too. Use #savethebees to share your positive impact or to learn more.

Share this project
COMMENTS: 8
  1. April 28, 2019 by Anna.Lee

    Hi Ashton!
    I absolutely love your bee design and laser cut wooden keychain! That’s so cool! How did your educational event on campus go? I would love to hear about it more!

  2. April 29, 2019 by Rebecca

    Hey Ashton! I love how you started off with the facts of the decline of bee populations and then described how it’s affecting us and what we can do. The keychains look amazing as well! It’s crazy to me that 1/3 of the food we consume each day depended on a bee’s pollination. I had no idea that bees were so influential on the food chain and humans, too. How did you pick bees? There are so many different types of environmental issues, but it’s so cool that you chose something so small that has such a large impact!

  3. April 29, 2019 by Georgia

    Hi Ashton! I loved you page about the decline of the bee population. You obviously worked very hard to put this all together and become extremely knowledgeable about this topic. The section about “Why Bees Matter” was very powerful, especially hearing that bees are responsible for ⅓ of the food we consume. I also really liked the part about how the bees use the hexagon shape to store the honey because it is the most space efficient. The keychain that you designed is very beautiful and I think that was a great way to spread awareness, about any particular topic, at a school. Have you ever thought about proposing the idea of building some beehives at your school?

  4. April 30, 2019 by Abby Sekoff

    Hi Ashton! Your project is really amazing. I love how you introduce the subject and then follow up with the problems and solutions. It is clear-cut and straight forward in a way that makes it user friendly and easy to understand. The best part is how you then integrate the topic into your amazing graphic design key chains. These would be a huge hit at my school as well. Great job !

  5. April 30, 2019 by Abigail.Dutta

    Hi Ashton, this was an amazing project! I think that your project was really well thought out and I am very impressed. I think its amazing your created a symbol to help promote the saving of bees. Your design was amazing and I think that the keychains will really help to catalyze change in your community. I also loved how you had a really good mixture of platforms and a great words to image ratio. Great job!

  6. May 02, 2019 by Taichi Kakitani

    I really liked how you started off with an explanation of the bees and the issue. It was really cool to see you taking it in action. I think the accommodation of these actions will surely improve the situation. You explained the causes of this issue clearly with photos and infographics. Your use of technology is very impressive. Keep up the good work.

  7. May 02, 2019 by Emily Foster

    Love the inforgraphics! I showed my 1st grade kids these and they thought they were so cool. Such a nice way to display information 🙂

  8. May 08, 2019 by Martha & Will - beekeepers

    Very good project presentation to cover many aspects of the honey bees. Ditto to all of the above!

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