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Clay Bolt is a Natural History and Conservation Photographer specializing in the world's smaller creatures. He regularly partners with organizations such as the National Geographic Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. He is an Associate Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), president-elect of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), and co-founder (2009) of the international nature and biodiversity photography project, Meet Your Neighbours. His current major focus is on North America's native bees and the important roles that they play in our lives. Clay lives in Bozeman, Montana where he is the communications lead for WWF's Northern Great Plains Program. Visit www.claybolt.com to learn more.

What is the Value of a Species?

TAKE ACTION to save the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee: chn.ge/28QVIZn

Everyone has heard about bee declines, but with so much attention focused on domesticated honeybees, someone has to speak up for the 4,000 species of native bees in North America. Natural history photographer Clay Bolt is on a multi-year quest to tell the stories of our native bees, and one elusive species – the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee – has become his ‘white whale.’

Traveling from state to state in search of the Rusty-patched, he meets the scientists and conservationists working tirelessly to preserve it. Clay’s journey finally brings him to Wisconsin, where he comes face to face with his fuzzy quarry and discovers an answer to the question that has been nagging him all along: why save a species?

A film by Day’s Edge Productions, produced in partnership with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Endangered Species Chocolate. With music by Dan Warren, New West Studios, and Cloud Cult.

Over 4,000 Reasons to Love (and Protect) North America’s Native Bees

This is part one of a year-long series of articles by iLCP Fellow, Clay Bolt, focused on documenting the lives and highlighting the importance of preserving native North American bumble bees. There are over 4,000 known species of native North American bees whose pollination services are worth an estimated $3 billion dollars per year to the US economy. Beyond this impressive dollar amount, many agricultural plants are primarily pollinated by native bees that are uniquely equipped with the tools and techniques required to do the job. While we’re (justifiably) spending heaps of time focusing on the loss of honey bees here in North America, our native bees are in decline as well, but in general, the media has overlooked this important fact.