In the last 20 years, public perception of native bees has grown from a bare understanding to recognizing their important role in many ecosystem functions. Brownfield environments are understudied in how they support populations of solitary native bees. One of the key purposes of this research project was to help us understand the role of brownfields as vital safe spaces for these populations to recover. The project begins by providing a history of the scientific research on native bee ecology, social learning, and communicating needs for environmental change through signage. Then, the project breaks into two studies that address the biological and societal impacts of the William J. Robertson Nature Preserve on solitary native bees in Rittman, Ohio. To understand how brownfields contribute to bee conservation, an experiment was run five times from July to October in 2022 to assess the local quality of habitat features on the abundance of solitary native bees. Transects were conducted to validify the designation of high or low flowering, and high or low tree coverage at the sites where pan trapping occurred for specimen collection. Results concluded that solitary and native bees were found most abundant in areas that were high in both floral resources and tree coverage. Five families of bees were cataloged representing 11 different genera of solitary and native bees that have residences within William J. Robertson Nature Preserve. The second study, aimed to create a workshop for members of the community of Rittman to design signage that addressed topics of solitary native bee conservation. Research concerning social learning was reviewed and related to humanities arts based participatory research. The model for a workshop was proposed to increase the public's perception of native bees and suggested that art can be utilized as a tool to enhance lessons on environmental conservation.


Moreno, Carlo


Environmental Studies


Art Education | Entomology | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Outdoor Education


solitary bees, native bees, brownfield, art education, social learning, signage, interpretive design, community-based, community-led, invasive plant species, native plant species

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis


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