Common Ground

Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Common Ground > Projects > Lecture Series > News Release: Join us for a talk about parks and pollinators, with Dr. Marla Spivak, 7pm, February 27

News Release: Join us for a talk about parks and pollinators, with Dr. Marla Spivak, 7pm, February 27


The Next Generation of Parks 10th Anniversary Season Continues at the Walker Art Center
Featuring MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar as host of the evening’s interview and audience Q&A

Minneapolis, Minn. – Dr. Marla Spivak, founder of the Spivak Honey Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota and a 2010 MacArthur Fellow, will speak as part of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Next Generation of Parks Event Series, 7:00-8:30pm, Thursday, February 27, at the Walker Art Center. Dr. Spivak is a McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota, where her research efforts focus on protecting and enhancing the health and diversity of bees. In this talk, she’ll discuss her globally renowned research into the demise of honeybees, the need to protect this vital species, and efforts to restore populations through pollinator-promoting parks and greenspace. Joining Dr. Spivak on-stage for audience Q&A will be MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar. All Next Generation of Parks events are free; tickets for Dr. Spivak’s talk be available from the Walker box office from 6pm the night of the event.

All pollinators in Minnesota are threatened by habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change, though honeybees – which are estimated to pollinate a third of the U.S. food supply – have been particularly impacted. The Spivak Honey Bee Lab seeks to promote the health of all bees, with research specifically focused on “honey bees, ranging from basic studies on mechanisms of social immunity and behavior, to applied studies on bee breeding and management.” Dr. Spivak’s research has revolutionized our view of bees and bee management, including a “Minnesota hygienic” line of honeybees that is resistant to the Varroa mite and has demonstrated the ability to fight pests and pathogens more sustainably than chemical pesticides.

“The Minneapolis Park System provides critical habitat for a diversity of species. Through Dr. Spivak’s research, we’ve learned more about the delicate health of urban ecosystems and the integral role bees play in supporting human life,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. “As the Parks Foundation works to increase access in Minneapolis to the natural world, Dr. Spivak’s insights can shape urban parks that are healthy, welcoming, and safe for all creatures.”

About the Next Generation of Parks 10th Anniversary Season
The Next Generation of Parks event series premiered in 2010 as a landscape design-centric lecture series and “envisioning process initiated by the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to engage citizens in imagining the future of our parks system.” Today, the series has evolved to embrace the complexities of parks and the public realm, exploring the intersections of equity, access, climate, culture, and health.

This 10th Anniversary Next Generation of Parks season continues on Thursday, May 7, with Dr. Craig L. Wilkins, a nationally renowned architect, author, academic and activist, who will talk about community engagement and design. Dr. Wilkins serves on the faculty at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. A 2017 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum National Design Award winner, his design work has been featured in such publications as the Washington Post, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, The Atlantic, and Fast Company. His critical essays and commentary have been published in the Journal of Architectural Education, International Review of African American Art, Art South Africa, Volume, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Detroit News, among others. A 2010 Kresge Artist Fellow and a former director of the Detroit Community Design Center, Dr. Wilkins is the author of “The Aesthetics of Equity: Notes on Race, Space, Architecture & Music” (University of Minnesota 2007), “Ruffneck Constructivist” (Dancing Foxes Press/ICA 2014) and “Diversity Among Architects: From Margin to Center” (Routledge 2016), as well as co-editor of “Activist Architecture: A Field Guide to Community-Based Practice” (DCDC Publications 2015). The creative director of the Wilkins project, he is a 2020 Spatial Justice Fellow at the University of Oregon School of Architecture & Environment. 

Throughout this season, the Parks Foundation will commemorate the history of the Next Generation of Parks with a blog series on its website featuring clips and interviews with past speakers and passionate attendees. The anniversary season will culminate with a free public celebration following Dr. Wilkins’s talk, the evening of May 7.

Thank You to Our 2019-2020 Sponsors
The 2019-2020 season of the Next Generation of Parks is presented by Minnesota Public Radio News, and produced in partnership with the Walker Art Center, the University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture, and the Mill City Museum, with additional support from Barr Engineering and Ameriprise Financial.

About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation transforms human lives through parks and public spaces by aligning philanthropic investment and community vision. Since 2003, the Parks Foundation has raised more than $20 million for transformative parks projects in Minneapolis. Currently, the Parks Foundation co-leads the RiverFirst Initiative with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and is responsible for private fundraising and implementation of the Water Works and Great Northern Greenway River Link projects. The Parks Foundation also supports innovative Minneapolis parks projects, including Little Free Libraries® at all recreation centers, through equity funding and champions world-class design through its Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series.

# # #

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.