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Beneficial Insects: The Little Things That Run the World
Peter Burke, BA Ecology & Agriculture
Insects might bug us but we couldn't survive without them. Pollinators, decomposers, prey, and predatory insects provide ecosystem services that are crucial to the survival of nature, our gardens, food security, and human health. #academic
US Grade 2 - 5
In 1987, the late great conservationist E. O. Wilson published, "The Little Things that Run the World," which details the many ways in which insects make our lives on earth possible. Today, 35 years later, insect populations are in drastic decline along with the thousands of birds species that feed on them. In this class we will explore four important categories of insects and their pivotal role in maintaining a habitable environment for humans and all life on earth. I hope this class will...
This course will cover: biology, nectar, pollen, reproduction, butterflies, moths, beetles, aphids, entomology, predatory insects, beneficial insects, organic farming, pollinators, pollination, botany, how to garden, how to grow vegetables, monocultures, agriculture, pesticides, insects, bugs, farming, pest control, bio control, human health, ecosystems, extinction, endangered species, jumping spiders, dragon flies, lady bugs, parasitic wasps, hover flies, lacewings, assassin bugs,
I currently sit on the advisory committee for the Shao Shan Temple Community Garden which works with community members of all ages to create a nourishing space for mindfulness practice, community engagement, and to provide fresh local veggies for the temple programs and the local food shelf. I received my Outdoor Leadership Certificate from Hanfl Center for Outdoor Education and Environmental Study in 2019 along with an Advanced Wilderness First Aid Certificate. I had the privilege of managing the gardens at the Art Monastery, which is dedicated to cultivating personal awakening and cultural transformation through art making, spiritual practice, and reciprocity with the earth. I managed volunteers to grow local organic food using ecologically informed techniques. And I am currently planning native perennial pollinator gardens to be planted at their facilities next spring. I have been teaching English abroad for the last three years. I have a TESOL certificate to teach English as a second language. I have traveled to Thailand and India while teaching English as a second language. During my Ecology and Agriculture major at Hampshire College I volunteered with Help Yourself Northampton to plant Public Access Food Forests in public spaces around the city. This involved working with the local government to approve such plantings and educating the general public about the importance of food security, food access, and the ecological benefits of diverse gardens as apposed to lawns. I had the privilege of working alongside youth volunteers, talking with them about ecology and gardening as we planted an edible garden next to a bike path in the center of town. I got to work side by side with young people from my community and understand their relationship to food and nature. I had the privilege of volunteering for Fresh New London; their mission is empowering youth, connecting community and growing food to dismantle systemic oppression and build food sovereignty. Again I had the amazing opportunity to work alongside high school students in the area to talk about gardening and the environment, but also to understand the local community and the needs of a diverse population. We worked to grow culturally relevant food options like Ahi Dulce, a popular sweet pepper from Latin America. I have also had the opportunity to volunteer at Nuestras Raices, a grassroots urban agriculture organization based in Holyoke, MA. Their mission is to create healthy environments, celebrate “agri-culture,” harness collective energy, and to advance a vision of a just and sustainable future. We worked together with the understanding that cultivating youth leadership can powerfully influence policy and systems change. I also had the wonderful opportunity to assist with a nature based after school program at Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School which used nature games and nature based arts and crafts to teach K-4th grade students about basic ecological principles and basic outdoors skills. We ran activities such as identifying the signs of spring, looking at animal tracks, and building simple shelters to let kids connect with nature, get out of the classroom, and develop useful outdoors skills. During my six month apprenticeship at Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center in San Francisco, CA I had the opportunity to meet with local high school students to talk with them about mindfulness, meditation, and organic farming during community outreach programs at the farm. During my time at Hampshire College I worked with the organization Real Food Challenge which is dedicated to mobilizing young people to redefine real food and build a food system that benefits everyone. I worked with youth leaders from around the country to advocate for more ethically and sustainably sourced foods to be served in dining halls in schools around the country. I was one of the original members of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center Farmworker Organizing Committee. They are pursuing a future in which workers, immigrants, and all people of color, revolutionize the way that we feed and sustain themselves. My role included organizing childcare and education for the farmworker meetings so that the parents could meet and discuss strategies to improve working conditions at local farms. I was lucky to present at the 2017 Northeast Organic Farmers Association about soil grown sprouts and the environmental benefits of growing fresh greens at home rather than buying them from farms across the country. I have had the privilege of taking a permaculture design course with Eric Toensmeier, the award-winning author of Edible Forest Gardens and Carbon Farming, and an appointed lecturer at Yale University, and international lecturer. I studied ecosystem mimicry in food production and we discussed innovative techniques to grow food, sequester carbon, and sustain wildlife.
Meet the teacher
Biology was my favorite subject in high school, but the textbook curriculum left me with many unanswered questions about the natural world. My specialty is teaching advanced natural sciences using metaphor and an interactive teaching style that...
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(12)
Completed by 47 learners
Live video meetings
2-8 learners per class