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Bee in a flower
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Bee in a flower

A University of Hawaiʻi team created quite the buzz with two videos developed to raise public awareness about bees.

Ethel M. Villalobos, director of the UH Honeybee Project; Jonathan Koch, a UH Hilo conservation entomologist specializing in bees and Jonathan Wright, a graphic designer with Hazard Design, won awards from the Entomological Society of America (ESA) for their videos, The Life History of Bees and The Odd Couples.

Ethel M. Villalobos

The Life History of Bees , which won first place in the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Pollinator Video Competition, introduces the viewer to a variety of bee species and their life cycles. The emphasis is on honeybees, but the video includes natural history information about wild bees in the tropics and temperate regions.

The Odd Couples which won second place in the ESA‘s “YouTube Your Entomology” video competition, is an animated short addressing the ancient and crucial relationship between flowering plants and pollinators.

The team was inspired to create the videos, Villalobos explained, because “communication is key to public awareness and to the development of informed decisions.” These videos provide biological information in an easy-to-understand format.

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources graduate students Kirsten Poff, Scott Nikaido, and Zhening Zhang contributed video clips, photos and narration. Villalobos contributed 2D animation, video clips and photos. Koch helped edit and narrate the video and Wright provided 3D animation, and video/sound editing.

holding insect nets
Jonathan Koch (third from left) with students

“As scientists we are trained to be precise and detail minded, but we often fail at making things attractive or fun for the general public,” Villalobos said.

“We wanted to produce videos that would allow us to express the science but also incorporate our artistic vision and a little humor. We needed to explain certain ideas without using jargon or sounding too technical and without sacrificing valuable content,” she said.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for people to learn how they can help bees on an individual level,” explained Koch. “Our video provided a platform for us to talk about the value of bees to a broader audience.”

See UH Hilo news story.

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