Update from Senator Stumpf
I would like to update you on how the Capital Investment Committee has been spending the past few weeks. We have spent a few days visiting bonding sites across the Twin Cities suburbs. A few weeks ago we were able to visit the St. David’s Center in Minnetonka. This educational facility specializes in offering multi-disciplinary education and therapy for young children who suffer from a variety of learning disabilities, including autism.
Just a week ago we visited several spots in the cities including TCAAP, which is the Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant and the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. The St. Paul campus focuses a lot of its attention on agricultural research. While we were there we learned about the campus’ intensive bee research, its work fighting invasive species in Minnesota’s lakes and rivers and toured the microbial sciences research building.
Many of the projects we have toured over the last six months are part of important research, or are vital to their communities. As we continue holding hearings and begin to put together a bonding bill, I encourage you to follow along on social media.
Build.MN Spotlight: Bee research at the University of Minnesota
While touring the bee research facilities on the St. Paul campus, we learned that the survival of bees is vital to the survival of humans. Researchers taught us that bees pollinate a third of our food supply, but over the last few decades bee colonies have disappeared at alarming rates. We were introduced to Dr. Marla Spivak, a bees scholar and lead researcher at the University’s bee facility. She is also world-renowned; a video of her speaking on YouTube has more than 1.4 million views.
The University, through Dr. Spivak’s work has developed a ‘bee squad’ which has grown from a five-person class to more than 200 students who learn how to create healthy habitats for bees. The class also particularly focuses on pollinating in northern, cold climates. Dr. Spivak has inspired students across the country to come to the University and attend her classes in order to help save bees worldwide.
The University’s current bee lab facilities do not include running water, internet or many other features that would allow her to further advance her research. The U of M is requesting $12 million to build an advanced bee laboratory which will support research, teaching, honey processing and further outreach.