Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Biodiversity to the Nth Power from Green Roofs & the Dance Language of Bees

I am awestruck by the biodiversity value Green Roofs bring to a site, especially when native wildflowers and plants are used as part of the design.

Back when we were doing the original BioDiversity Survey for the Breaking Ground Project we went around the site and categorized all the plants and wildlife we encountered during the review.  There were not many wildlife, insects, birds or pollinators during the construction phase and as Sterling Roofing installed the green roof system we did not encounter any life on the roof.

Within the first day of a plant being installed on the green roof I noticed a lone bee checking out the new vertical green, plants high up in the sky.

The bee stayed around for a while and came back each day apparently to check on the progress of the green roof and see what nectar plants were being added to her foraging area.

Then the native plants were installed and perked up with fresh flower blooms in the bright sunshine on the roof, just south of an amazing array of solar panels.

The original bee must have gone back and told the colony about the new nectar source.  For an interesting website on how bees comunicate about nectar finds be sure to visit The Dance Language of Bees website here.  The term 'Dance Language of Bees' is adorable and amazing! As the site points out, Aristotle observed of bees and their ability to tell of nectar finds ...""Each bee on her return is followed by three or four companions . . . how they do it has not yet been observed".

I mentioned the bees to Catherine Burkee, the Director of Educational Services for Breaking Ground Contracting the other day and when I arrived at the roof this morning Catherine, with camera in hand was capturing some amazing photos.  She emailed me some photos later, posted below and in her email she stated "There is so much going on up there and I could have attached 100 pictures!!! ".

Amazing!  Restoring Vertical Green to the Urban Core and the response from pollinators.  Maybe Green Roofs will help us further understand the Language of the Dance of Bees.  Surely the Bees will pollinate the wildflowers across the Green Roof - a beautiful symbiotic relationship.  Loving life on the Green Roof!
Bee & Rudbeckia by Catherine Burkee, BGC Green Roof

Borage Flower, BGC Green Roof, by Catherine Burkee

Corn Flower,  BGC Green Roof, by Catherine Burkee

Bee & Helianthus, BGC Green Roof, Catherine Burkee

Mentha, BGC Green Roof, Catherine Burkee

Muhly Grass & Helianthus, BGC Green Roof, Catherine Burkee

Thornless Blackberry, BGC Green Roof, Catherine Burkee

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