Karen Schumaker is one of those rare individuals who lives simply in nature and cares for all of the wild animals she encounters. She is the founder of the Newhaven Private Wildlife Sanctuary in Idaho.
Karen writes both technically and poetically about wild animals and her sensitive interaction with them.
At one time or another, I’m sure our readers have all had the experience of trying to get an insect to safety. In the current issue of Newhaven News, Karen describes her attempt to rescue a bee:
Laundry is a hand-pumping operation, usually done in a 5-gallon bucket at times when midday heat makes it a pleasantly cooling job. I’d just stuck my arm into the soapy wash water when one of our gorgeous bumblebees tumbled in. He was lucky I was right there to scoop him out almost instantaneously, saying alound, ‘You’re ok, don’t be afraid.’ His wings and splendid yellow fur with its orange rump band were completely flattened, drenched. His movements, initially a vigorous protest, turned shocked and feeble. I debated a quick dip in the rinse, but we use earth-friendly soap, and another dunk might kill him. He couldn’t manage to cling to a flat-topped yarrow, so I set him on the metal lid of the ash bin in the warm sun. Then, fearing it would burn him, I coaxed him up off the hot metal, explaining, ‘Climb up onto my toothbrush, that’s what it’s good for.’ He spent about 20 minutes there, resting. Gradually recovering movement in his cold legs, he groomed his fur as it dried. At Newhaven, as everywhere, bee populations are down from neonic pesticide-induced disease. We don’t use pesticides of course, but bees travel long distances. With the neonics scare, we’re trying more than ever to protect our insects both in diversity and numbers.
Orange rump made a tentative, premature attempt to fly. He stumbled, discouraged and bewildered, onto the metal. I helped him back onto the brush. After a few more minutes, he again reflexively tried to fly. This time he made it and you could tell he was surprised as he joyously flew away.
To learn more about Karen Schumaker’s work, contact her at Newhaven Private Wildlife Sanctuary P.O. Box 217, Deary, ID 83823