Mt. Tam bees: We need you to 'bee' a park hero!


Can you guess how many kinds of bees are buzzing around Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County? There are bumblers, and honey bees...that's about it, right??

Thanks in part to the work of Tamalpais Bee Lab volunteers, we now know there are HUNDREDS of different bees in this area of Marin. The work of community scientists has helped immensely as the Parks Conservancy, our One Tam partners (the National Park Service, California State Parks, Marin County Parks, and Marin Municipal Water District), and Dr. Gretchen LeBuhn of San Francisco State University gather information about these critical pollinators.

A note about the photos in the above gallery

Former Parks Conservancy intern Kris Fleming took these stunning bee images using a laborious macrophotography process in summer 2021. Each final image is composed of around 50 raw images taken with a special camera and rig, and later stitched together with a special software program. "It's tedious but yields really amazing results!" Kris said.

Macrophotography is another important way of documenting the bee species on Mt. Tam. Up-close images like these reveal the incredible intricacy and beauty of the region's bees, and allow us to share what we're learning more broadly.

Wild bee populations are declining around the world due to pesticide use, disease, and changes in land use. Prior to the launch of the Tamalpais Bee Lab project, we didn't know enough about our region's wild pollinators. The data we're collecting will help us monitor this key indicator of the health of Mt. Tam's natural resources, and help us track changes over time.

Join us to learn more about Mt. Tam’s wild pollinators, and gain skills in scientific collections management and insect identification. Volunteers help with sorting, pinning, and identifying species. As these photos indicate, you never know what amazing, colorful bees you'll see! Find more information about volunteering on the One Tam site.

For any media inquiries about this project or usage of these photos, please contact


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