We will produce a high quality recording of the bees and a CD that will be titled the Humming Fields of Lavender. This sound recording will be done to increase appreciation of the beauty of the bees while engaged in the ancient dance of pollinating flowers. Experiences of beauty are an implicit call to preserve what we value, in this case, the precious pollinators, the bees.
Ojai, California is a beautiful valley where there is a great deal of human recognition of the importance of living in harmony with nature. This site-specific recording will preserve a peak moment of pollination for many to share. Sounds of nature enrich our world and nurture our senses in a world saturated with too much manmade noise.
Your support will launch this sustainable initiative to offer a new way to experience pollination that is pleasing beyond the palate and make it possible to offer it to nature and garden education programs to provide a sound enriching experience.
You ask why this recording? While this recording may seem a bit esoteric, it’s actually quite pertinent. The alchemy of bees and flowers is a significant contribution to the abundance of life on Earth. According to the eminent biologist E.O. Wilson, about every third bite of food we take is due to the work of the bees and other pollinators. The bees are reaching a critical threshold, and it’s in our interest, as enlightened stewards, to foster conditions for them to thrive, not succumb from too much toxic exposure, habitat changes and environmental stresses.
In the U.S. alone, according to the National Resources Defense Council, $15 billion dollars of crops are a result of bee pollination, including apples, almonds, the range of berries, cantaloupes, cucumbers and alfalfa. Historically bees have had fields of flowers, blossoming trees, farms and gardens to fertilize through pollination. Now though, much of their foraging habitat has dwindled and new farming practices are taking a toll.
Since 2006, beekeepers have seen a devastating level of die-off among bee populations--as much as 30%! This is a critical impact with a very short timeline. The bottom line is that bee populations are getting caught in the crossfire of too many toxic hazards and environmental stresses that are undermining the ability to sustain their colonies.
If we want to continue having, quite literally, the fruits of the pollination process, then we will have to take action to preserve our pollinators, the bees. The Humming Fields of Lavender recording will encourage more awareness of the beauty of the bees at work, making the Earth more fertile in the process.
The Inspirational Buzz
This project celebrates the work of the bees in the process of pollinating lavender, a most appealing flowering herb, highly sought after by both humans and bees alike! Lavender is an herb with a lot of positive human association. For more than 2,500 years, it has been used for culinary, cosmetic and healing purposes.
The inspiration for this project began more than two decades ago, when I first viewed two intertwining circles of lavender after entering an 11th century monastery in Provence. It was a mesmerizing moment of beauty and serenity.
Fast forward to 2011, for an impromptu stop at a lavender farm. This time, I walked into the field and began to hear thousands of bees in the process of pollination. It was quite magical! Few people will ever experience a field overflowing with lavender while the bees are in full glory. The bees sound like a humming choir, with a sense that is soothing, serene and somehow happily abundant. This recording will preserve a peak moment of pollination and provide a sound experience of nature’s productive harmony for many to share.
Your support for this project will be used first for costs to record on location in Ojai this summer. Funds will be used for the sound recorder fee and travel expenses from Washington State to record for two days. This costs $2,200.
Any additional funds raised above this amount will go toward mixing and mastering of the first CD. Cost: $500.
The final recording will be produced on an eco jacket. Donna will create the liner notes for the CD (no fee). Cost for the production facility to produce 1000 CD’s: $1,000.
I will sell the CD’s directly from the web site (under development) and on location in Ojai (such as at the annual Lavender Festival where 5000 people attend each year). I will also use a list of retail stores across the country where the CD can be distributed and sold to market it. Initial marketing: $300.
The total cost for the project is around $4,000 if 1000 CD’s are produced.
I've worked with creative people and projects in a variety of settings from publishing (LA Spirit Magazine) to television (The Amazing Race). For this project, I will work with Martyn Stewart, a recognized master of nature sound recording, to obtain the original work (www.naturesound.org). The recording will be done in surround sound to give a rich sensory experience of being in the field with the bees.
The mixed and mastered recording will become a nature sound CD available for sale. For every two CD’s that sell, a CD will be given to a nature or garden education program. In California alone, there are now more than 4,000 school garden education programs where a recording such as this can be used.
A lifelong foodie, Donna Strong is the project visionary and steward. Schooled in garden design and history, she is passionate about flowers and plants and the beauty of creation on this planet. As an editorial contributor with Awareness Magazine in Southern California, She has written extensively on green topics. (For example, see article on the People’s Grocery in Oakland http://www.donnastrong.com/PDFs/RiseUP.pdf) Donna's first book, Coming Home to Calm, offers her perspective on the greening power of spirituality.
A master at his work, Martyn Stewart has been recording nature sounds for more than 30 years. His work has contributed to over 150 films and countless television and radio productions over the course of his career. He has circled the globe in his quest to document the natural soundscape of the world. To give an idea of his vast sound library, if loaded on an ipod, it would play continuously for 1137 days!
Please BEE part of our success and we will make some sound food for the senses with the Humming Fields of Lavender CD. This work will share the unique experience of this peak moment of pollination with many people and we hope! inspire more understanding about our precious pollinators, the bees.
- (30 days)