Underutilized baseball diamond serves as foundation for endangered bee habitat

Image of man sitting on bench near field.

(OurQuadCities.com) Ross Smith earned his master’s degree in recreation, park and tourism administration in 2018. For his final project, Smith transformed two underutilized baseball diamonds in Hampton into a prairie area for Rock Island County Forest Preserve District. The Illiniwek Forest Preserve Project was created through this process and, in mid-August, the site became one of just a few nationwide to boast sightings of the endangered rusty patched bumble bee.

Agreement reached to protect endangered rusty patched bumble bee at Minnetonka’s Lone Lake Park

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on white flowers.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity and the city of Minnetonka have reached an agreement to protect the endangered rusty patched bumble bee at Lone Lake Park, the site of a planned multi-use mountain-bike trail. Under the agreement, the city will implement numerous conservation measures, including creation of habitat for the bees and other pollinators.

Agency denies critical habitat for endangered rusty patched bumble bee

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on flower.

(AP) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would not designate critical habitat for the first bee species in the continental U.S. to be listed as endangered, a move that environmentalists said would worsen its chances for recovery. The agency said it had determined the rusty patched bumble bee could survive without having specific areas managed for its protection, even though its population has plummeted 90% in the past couple of decades.

Endangered board game shows just how hard conservation can be

Image of game set.

(ScienceNews) Endangered is a cooperative game for one to five players. Each person takes on a role — zoologist, philanthropist, lobbyist, environmental lawyer or TV wildlife show host — and players work together to convince at least four ambassadors to save a species. If you get too few “yes” votes, or let habitat destruction spread too much, or if your animal population dies out, everyone loses. The game starts with a set of animals in their habitat, either tigers or sea otters, depending on which of the game’s two story lines you play. A third story line, giant pandas, is available in an expansion pack, and a Kickstarter that began this month is raising funds for additional animal packs.

Endangered rusty patched bumble bees spotted at Illinois forest preserve

Image of rusty patched bumble bee.

(Quad City Times) A park ranger at Illiniwek Forest Preserve spotted an endangered rusty patched bumble bee in the preserve. The sighting was confirmed by an assistant professor of biology at Black Hawk College. “This is the best possible indicator that the prairie restorations the Forest Preserve District has been working on are paying off. Finding this new sighting is really important in our efforts of staving off the extinction of this species.”

Lawsuit launched to protect Minnesota’s endangered rusty patched bumble bee

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on flower.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice today of its intent to sue the city of Minnetonka, Minnesota, for failing to protect endangered rusty patched bumble bees from a planned mountain-bike course in Lone Lake Park, home to one of the largest populations of the bee in the state. “The Endangered Species Act is 99% effective at protecting our most imperiled wildlife, but it can only work when its mandates are followed.”

Rusty patched bumble bee found at Iowa nature center

The actual image of the rusty patched bumble bee taken by Amy Loving.

(Quad-City Times) Amy Loving was working at Davenport’s Nahant Marsh Education Center, taking photos of bees and other insects buzzing around the building in preparation for an upcoming program. Spotting a bee in some white clover, she crouched down to get a shot. Back inside the center some time later, she was scrolling through her images when suddenly she felt her heart begin to race. One of her pictures showed a bee with a rusty patch in its yellow backside.

Protecting insect habitats is saving multitudes

Image of American burying beetle being held in hands.

(Reasons to be Cheerful) Over the past couple of months, construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline has faced two legal challenges. One is from a Native American tribe concerned that pipeline workers might spread the coronavirus to their communities. The other is driven, in part, by an inch-long beetle. A colorful scavenger of grasslands and forest understories, the American burying beetle is an endangered species, and on April 15, a federal judge in Montana ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers, in its haste to build the pipeline, had violated the insect’s protected status. The Endangered Species Act has been a conservation triumph for numerous species, including insects.