Since 2018, Oregon State University has relied on hundreds of citizen scientists to collect wild bees. Researchers think there are about 600 native bee species in Oregon, but they need expert help to find them. Now, OSU Extension has created a Master Melittologist program. Based on the Master Gardener format, it’s the first of its kind.
The rigorous, largely online program has three levels. Apprentices learn bee biology and how to prepare bees for study. Journey- or master-level volunteers dive deeper into things like microscope work or outreach.
Andony Melathopoulos and Sarah Kinkaid are with OSU. “We think by doing that, there’s an incentive," said Melathopoulos. "We’re really baiting people’s natural interest and giving them another step and another step. They can really become more proficient.”
Kincaid added, “Andony and I have always believed in providing people with in-depth information and that gets people, I think, more excited, because when it comes to biology and life, the magic is in the details.”
Melathopoulos said the group hopes the program becomes a model for other states.
Enrollment for the next season of the program begins in January. Click on the link above or here for more information.