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October 15, 2007

The Bee Truth

The Bee Truth

With this year's Nobel Peace Prize going to Al Gore and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the buzz about global warming just got a little louder.

Wayne Esaias, a NASA oceanographer, never expected his backyard hobby would contribute to the conversation.

Back in 1991, Wayne's then 12-year-old son talked him into putting up a few beehives in the backyard. Wayne had spent his career plotting and analyzing satellite data about ocean plant life - so it was natural that Wayne would keep careful records about his bees.

Wayne weighed the hives every day, determining when the bees had finished collecting nectar for the year, when they needed supplemental food, and when the honey was ready to harvest. But it wasn't until early 2006 that he decided to plot out the data. That's when he saw an unmistakable curve towards earlier and earlier plant blooming.

Wayne has now asked other beekeepers to send him their data about hive weight. He thinks the simple measurement could answer a lot of questions about the effects of climate change.

His research could also help solve the mystery of why 50 to 90 percent of honeybee colonies have disappeared in the U.S. In the spring, Dick visited Jeff Lee, who has an apiary in Mebane, N.C. He checks in with Jeff today to see how his bees are doing.

The Riverkeeper

With the world's attention turned to the environment, it's a good time to listen to Dick's conversation with Fred Tutman. Fred is a "riverkeeper" on the Patuxent River near Washington DC.

Fred fights water polluters in the media and in the courtroom. And he also regularly gets to patrol the water in a kayak.


Buzz Me Blues by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five for the album Louis Jordan: #1's

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