Upcoming Events and Field Trips

Events & Field Trips

Chapter Meeting: Our Backyard Bumbles: An Introduction to Washington’s Bumblebees by David Jennings

March 26 (Thursday), 7pm (CANCELLED) - Yakima Area Arboretum Office, 1401 Arboretum Dr., Yakima, WA

Following the national and local recommendations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the board of Yakima Valley Audubon has cancelled all events in March. That includes the program on March 26th. We will make a decision about April events, both the program and field trips by the end of this month and continue to re-assess event closures to protect our members and communities.

Bumblebees are some of our most endearing native pollinators. With their furry bodies (and ability to thermoregulate) they are well-adapted to survive in colder and temperate ecosystems, such as those in Washington State. Bumblebees are the only bees native to North America that are truly social – the more familiar European honey bee is not a native species. Bumblebees have a complex social life and their means of communicating within colonies are not fully understood, despite many decades of research. Unlike the European honey bee, bumblebees have an annual lifecycle and only the queen bee survives the harsh winter, subsisting overwinter on food reserves she consumed prior to hibernation.

There are many factors that impact bumblebee populations. While some species have stable populations, others are in decline. As generalist foragers, they do not depend on any one plant species; however, some plants do rely on bumblebees to achieve pollination. Bumblebees are more efficient than honey bees in pollination of some human food crops, including tomatoes and cranberries. Thus, the loss of bumblebees has far ranging impacts due to their role as pollinators.

Come learn about the fascinating ecology of our native bumblebees from David Jennings. David is a well-known expert on bumblebee ecology and identification. He has an academic background in wildlife ecology and conservation and is a former Fish and Wildlife Commissioner. He is also president of the Washington Butterfly Association.  David will give a presentation for Yakima Valley Audubon on our native bumblebees, their behavior and ecology, and what we can do to help their populations and attract them to our yards. He will also discuss identification tips for our most common bumblebee species. Learning to identify bumblebees can serve as a great introduction to learning about all our native pollinators. 

Learn them, respect them, protect them!

Future Programs

Field Trips

March 14 (CANCELLED) - Second Saturday Bird Walk

Meet at 9:00 AM at the Sarg Hubbard parking lot. Birding as a group along the Greenway and Arboretum trails for approximately two hours.

April 19 (Sunday) - Greater Sage-Grouse on the Yakima Training Center

The wonderful Greater Sage-grouse lek trip on the Yakima Training Center is approaching soon. On April 19th, Scott Downes will lead a group of people to join a YTC biologist for an early morning visit to one of the leks of the greater sage-grouse on the training center. Witnessing this birds display on the lek is a truly memorable experience. Some words of caution are that we will be a considerable distance from the birds, so this is not a trip for photo opportunities and scopes are helpful. Scopes will be on hand if you don’t have one yourself. Meeting time will be announced to participants a couple weeks beforehand, but will be at least an hour before sunrise and the trip will likely conclude about mid-morning after the visit to the lek is over. Expect to dress in warm clothes as we will need to stand for several hours watching the lek. The trip is limited to 15 people. YVAS members have preference for signup until Feb 29th. On March 1st, signups will be released to anybody interested.

Email is the preferred method for signing up: downess@charter.net. Phone works as well if you don’t have access to email: 509-833-8331. For this trip, participants will need to send driver’s license or passport information and date-of-birth, and likely will need to provide me that information by March 15th so the YTC can pre-screen us. If you are not a US citizen, please note that in your sign-up info and get me your information sooner as there is extra screening time for non-citizens and passport information will be required. Carpooling will be required to minimize the amount of vehicles entering. If planning on driving, make sure your vehicle has good tires and you will need insurance and proof of registration for your vehicle. Once I have the list of people, I will be in contact with the group by the end of March to finalize the meeting place and time.

Future Field Trips