Thursday, May 21, 2009

U.S. Opens First Science Center Devoted to Pollinators

New UI Pollinatarium Already Abuzz with Activity
By Julie Wurth, News-Gazette (USA), 5/19/2009

URBANA – On this beautiful spring day the place is buzzing with excitement.

Thousands of bees crawling over a hive will do that to a roomful of fourth-graders.

"Ooooh, ooooh," they gasp as University of Illinois entomology Professor Gene Robinson pulls out a tray of bees busy making honey.

"You have to stay calm, because if you go crazy, they'll go crazy, and they'll sting you," warns junior bee expert Kayla Sharp.

These students, from Kay Grabow's fourth-grade class at Thomas Paine School in Urbana, were the first official visitors to the new University of Illinois Pollinatarium (think planetarium, only about bees and pollination instead of planets).

Located on the grounds of the UI Arboretum, the Pollinatarium is the first free-standing science center in the nation devoted to pollinators – bees mostly, but also birds, butterflies and other insects…

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