[GGN] #14 Fosters Bright Future, Potato Prosperity and Buzzing Bees

Day 6,031, 02:52 Published in United Kingdom United Kingdom by Garth Lidlington

Happy good news day! A mixed bag of stories for the 13th edition of GGN this week, hope you enjoy.

Foster Child’s Bright Future

Michael remembers coming home from school one day and being told to say goodbye to his mother. He was eight years old. Now 15 and living with a foster family, he says he can look to the future. The BBC spoke to him, his foster parents and the woman who helped bring them together.

"I just wanted someone normal; I wanted some normality in my life.

"It's what most children want."

Michael is describing what it was like waiting to find the foster carers who would love him as their own.

With help from the charity Break, Michael found what he needed in Clive - a man who never dreamed he would have the chance to bring up a child - and his husband, at their home in Norfolk. Looking back on their first days together six years ago, Michael recalls being anxious, but they soon found their rhythm.

What had been a difficult childhood has turned into something "really positive" with his foster carers.

"I'm happier," he reflects.

"When I moved in with Clive I was all hasty, I kept dropping my cups of tea because I was really nervous.

"With any foster child you are going to get all those kinks. If you give it time, the things that have stopped them living normally will fade away.

"When you foster a child, it's going to be difficult at first but when you get to know each other you will be like a normal family."

Prosperous Potato Supply in Manitoba

From Canada’s province of Manitoba comes the story of how dozens of volunteers succeeded when presented with a mammoth logistical challenge: giving away 12 million pounds of potatoes.

There are bumper crops, and then there’s whatever happened on Isaiah Hofer’s Manitoba farm last year. Potatoes were coming out of the ground in such numbers that after fulfilling all his normal deliveries and quotas, Hofner still had 10 million pounds of potatoes left.

He had a few options, including leaving them to rot as fertiliser, turning them into animal feed, or selling at a tiny profit or even a loss in such a flush market. In the end, Hofner followed his heart and resolved to give all of them away to the needy.

In his email inbox, he saw a letter from the industry group Keystone Potato Producers Association which happened to be spotlighting the work of a US food charity outfit Farmlink Project.

Farmlink arose from the government-enforced business closures and supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, and was responsible for connecting farms with surplus food with food banks cut off from usual deliveries.

Since 2020, they have rescued around 100 million pounds of food from going to waste on farms and distributing it to food banks across North America. Contacting some other farmers he knew, Hofner was soon able to offer Farmlink 12 million pounds (5.4 million kg) of potatoes for donation.

“Together, I think we actually gave back to over 50 local organisations across the city with countless numbers of individuals and households,” Leung told CBC. “And all these potatoes were claimed actually within eight to nine days.”

Scientists Buzz After Bee Colony Discovery

In a charming coincidence, a pair of bee and insect specialists from Washington College are buzzing with excitement about a unique and newly documented population of native bees right on their very own campus.

Although the large group of ground-nesting bees has been noticeable on one corner of the campus for years, recent identification of at least five different species all using the same area has sparked interest from researchers.

Recently, thanks to her keen eye and love of insects, photographer Pamela Cowart-Rickman realized that the area has multiple species of native mining bees all nesting together, something that has not been well documented.

“The Washington College site provides rare nesting habitat for multiple native bee species, several of which are uncommon and unidentified,” said Sam Droege from the US Geological Survey’s Bee Lab.

“We were very excited to learn about the ground-nesting bee aggregations at Washington College, for a myriad of reasons,” said Kueneman. “First, the size of the aggregation is substantial, and multiple species are utilising areas of the overall site to nest. This scenario is ideal for understanding nesting requirements for bees and how those vary by species.

He noted that due to its location, the Washington College aggregation can easily provide the opportunity for students and the public to learn about the biology of ground-nesting bees and the value they provide to the environment. He is also hopeful that knowledge of the history of the area and the site’s management can help inform how ground management practices on campus have impacted the population in the past and provide opportunities to explore how current management will impact this population in the future.

Solid advice from Chris Rea


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