project leader
Matt K
location
Hole in the Rock Road
(Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument)
latest update rss
No updates yet.

the project

Our week of fieldwork observing and collecting bees in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument of Utah is complete. Now it's time to begin sorting through all of the footage, images and audio to create a film of this adventure to share with you!

We've been working towards this moment for two years now. In June, we were able to return to the monument to continue studying the bees after a successful crowdfunding campaign with ioby. We spent eight days filming bee researchers Olivia Carril and Joe Wilson at work in the remote backcountry, following up on their original bee survey from 15 years prior. Understanding how these communities of bees are doing is now critical because the Trump administration has reduced and divided the monument, opening it to extractive industries and increased human activity.

Our goal with the film is to raise awareness about this place, the need to fund basic fieldwork, and to promote action. While the film itself is not primarily focused on the boundary changes, talking about the bees of Grand Staircase means we have to talk about what the Trump administration is doing. However, the bigger story here is how do we take bees into consideration as we make changes in this world – because bees are part of that network that is essential to all life.

ioby has showcased our project as an "Awesome Project". (Thank you!) If you haven’t yet read their showcase, please do.

https://www.ioby.org/blog/awesome-project-the-bees-of-grand-staircase-escalante

Close up image of native bee on flower.

the steps

What we need to do now is pretty straight forward:

• Produce the film.

• Show the film to as many people as possible.

• Get more and more people talking about the bees, thinking about this place, and taking action.

why we're doing it

Bees are in trouble, right? Bee populations are declining?

The fact is, we don't know for sure. Yes, we have strong evidence that some of the 4,000 bee species in North America are in trouble – sadly, the rusty patched bumble bee is an example of this. But to document a decline, you have to have a baseline for comparison, and for the vast majority of bees species, across the vast majority of North America, we simply don't have a good baseline.

But in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, we do. It's one of the few places in North America where the bees have been studied extensively in an almost pristine and untouched natural environment (thanks to the amazing work of Olivia Carril, Joe Wilson and a handful of other people). This is extremely powerful knowledge to have as we continue changing the world to meet our human needs. Primitive and protected lands like Grand Staircase-Escalante give us the ability to ask the right questions and make the right choices as we move forward.

Image of researchers in desert.

But studying changes in bee populations – or any insect population – also requires time and patience. One thing we've learned from Olivia and Joe's work in Grand Staircase-Escalante is that many bee species can be readily abundant one year, nearly absent the next, and then abundant again in some following year. Which means if you only compare two points in time, you'll likely have a false sense of how well certain bees are faring in our modern world. You have to study bees consistently and regularly over many years to gain a true understanding of changes and stability in their communities.

Unfortunately, this sort of basic science and fieldwork has been woefully underfunded for years. What’s more, the funding that could be available for studying bee and other insect populations are getting much harder to come by.

We are at a critical time in our history, when understanding everything we can about pollinators and insects is essential to our shared future. Unfortunately, there is little or no financial being given to the experts who could help answer the questions we have. And the changes being made to places like the Grand Staircase-Escalante are proceeding with such reckless abandon that we may very well be losing species and ecological connections before we even know they exist.

This is why we're making a film about the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante. To raise awareness about these bees, the need to fund basic fieldwork, and to promote action to protect these wild, pristine places.

Image of stone cairns in front of dessert landscape.

budget

Labor & Service, $76,250: Sorting through all of the footage, images and audio from our week of fieldwork in the monument, and distilling it all into a single beautiful, engaging story to share with you is no small task! Editing, animation, sound work, music and re-editing takes time, energy and the help of others. And we want to bring in the best folks possible for this job!

ioby Fees, $7,567: ioby continues to be a fantastic partner for helping to make this world a better place. They deserve (and have earned) a little love in return. If we don't support them, how can they support us?

Promotion, $6,330: What good is a film that nobody sees? Getting eyes on this important story will require travel and submissions to key festivals.

Materials, $4,000: Putting together a film like this requires quality hardware and software.

 



PROJECT FUNDING NEEDED = $86,580
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $4,707
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $2,824
TOTAL TO RAISE = $94,147

updates

Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.

photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

No donors yet. Make a contribution and be the first!