I'm not sure my neural pathways for good ice cream and the future of agriculture have ever sparked simultaneously before, but a recent posting sure caught my attention. If you happen to know someone who recently received their Ph.D. in entomology, you can point them, too, toward Haagen-Dazs' recently established fellowship in honey bee biology at the University of California, Davis. For those who need more hands-on training, be sure to check out the advanced workshop later this month on queen bee insemination.
I've had a special place in my heart for bees ever since 10th grade, when I sewed a poufy costume out of black and yellow felt, donned a pair of glittery oh-so-80s deely boppers, and performed the bee dance right there in front my Life Sciences classmates. My two best friends dutifully stood in opposite corners of the room, one holding a cheerful cardboard sun and the other a giant flower fluffed out of pink tissue paper. Meanwhile, I buzzed and wiggled my ass up and down the center aisle to demonstrate the figure-eight flow of a honey bee's information-laden wag-tail dance (pdf). Yes, I got an A for my earnest efforts. No, I never did find a date until I fled for college.
So, it was with special delight that I created a bee avatar and sent bee-mail at Haagen-Dazs' Help the Honey Bees website. The pages have a charm often missing in both corporate and environmental education sites, let alone one that tries to inform consumers about Colony Collapse Disorder, an obscure but very real crisis threatening bee populations, farmers' livelihoods, our country's food supply, and several of our state's leading businesses. (Almonds anyone?) In keeping with the sugary high of America's favorite dessert, the dire messages remain upbeat. Not even this cynic -- viral marketing and Nestle be damned -- could resist a parade of little buzzing bees holding up signs with hand-lettered slogans such as "Save Our Hive" and "Act Now" in order to move consumers to care for their plight.