Pollinator festival on Saturday in Carlton urges 'bee-ing' nice
July 19, 2019
It was as if the bees were calling them, said Glenn Swanson, organizer of this weekend's "Bee Friendly Day" in Carlton.
He told how he and his wife, Emily, got some used beehives from a friend more than a year ago. They put them behind the garage, thinking they'd find time to do more research on bees and beekeeping when they had time.
"Then a swarm of bees moved in," Swanson said. "Looking back, it's almost like the bees came over and said, 'Hey, can you help us?' It really just grew out of that."
After contacting the Northeast Beekeepers Association and learning more about the plight of bees and other pollinators, the Swansons - owners of the Oldenburg House in Carlton - decided it would be a good idea to combine their Blues Fest with some kind of educational event about pollinators. Although this year's Blues Fest was canceled due to family issues, they carried on with the two scheduled pollinator events: a gathering last weekend at the Free Range Festival barn in Wrenshall, and this weekend's Bee Friendly Day in and around downtown Carlton, the bike pavilion and the Oldenburg House.
The idea behind the events is to educate and encourage people to grow their own pollinator-friendly gardens, or plant a part of their yard with pollinator-friendly plants and resist mowing them down. He noted that the state of Minnesota is even giving grants to property owners to convert part of their land into pollinator-friendly zones.
"It's easy to just dismiss a bug and disconnect from the complexity of the ecosystem, but these bugs, bats, butterflies and hummingbirds are doing something," he said, referring to the way the critters pollinate many of the plants that provide our fruits and vegetables. "This is an issue here and globally - and it could have some pretty negative ramifications on our food supply."
As such, the Swansons and others are hoping local government officials will follow the Carlton city council's lead and declare their territories "pollinator-friendly" and ban herbicides and pesticides that have been shown to be detrimental to bees and other pollinators.
"Whatever is causing the shift in the population of insects, it's not a good thing," he said.
Bee Friendly activities this Saturday:
9:30 a.m. | Bee Friendly Bike Ride
The ride starts at Carlton Bike Rental and Repair, where owner Jolienne Steffens will provide bikes, if needed, for people to "buzz down" to Jay Cooke's swinging bridge and back for a bee-friendly ride!
10 a.m. | Bee Calm Yoga at the Oldenburg House (outdoors or indoors depending on the weather)
Julie Deters and Margaret Harstad lead a one-hour Bee Calm Yoga class with musician Cynthia Lapp playing an assortment of gongs
11 a.m. | Bee Story Hour at the bike pavillion
Keiko Satomi of the Cloquet Public Library will read stories of bees, set up a story stroll and lead a bee headband craft experience for kids
Dan Dan the Monkey Man at the bike pavillion
Dan Munthie entertains kids with his music and engages children with musical instruments
Face painting at the bike pavillion
Cameron Rose will be on hand to get everyone into the moment with face painting. Get your pollinator face on. Wear your support of butterflies, bees and all the creatures that help our plants.
-Artist Adam Swanson expresses pollinator-inspired art at the Four Corners (NW corner between benches) in downtown Carlton
-Sidewalk chalk art by the information booth at the Four Corners
Sarah Obrecht provides materials and sidewalk locations for all of us to use our creativity in expressing our gratitude to the pollinators and the flowers they love
-Pollinator garden tips at Oldenburg House
Chris Gass of Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District conducts a how-to for people interested in creating pollinator-friendly gardens. Learn how to bring the butterflies into your home gardens and view several Monarch butterflies in their chrysalis stage.