A lifelong naturalist, teacher, mountain climber, graphic artist and skilled photographer, Dr. Don Rolfs grew up in the mountains and wilderness of Washington state.
He has always had an affinity for native pollinators–his butterfly and moth collection won him a college scholarship in a state-wide science fair!
Don’s academic training includes mammology, ornithology, ecology, botany and photography. He was a very successful dental surgeon for many years.
Retired since 2005, Don has been conducting original research on our native bees. Don has given many presentations on Washington’s native bees and the need to protect our native pollinators. His focus to detail has helped improve many aspects of field work associated with bumble bees and other native bee species.
Though we had attracted many bees to our new xeric, mostly native yard and I was finding them interesting photography subjects, the key moment in my conversion to native bees was when I took Natural Science Illustration at Wenatchee Valley College.
For our final project we were instructed to use the specimens in the Biology lab and I fell for a bright metallic blue bee. Then I came across a poster for one of Don Rolfs native bee programs and eventually tracked him down to see if he could tell me what kind of bee I had. I ended up volunteering to sort and ID the Bumble bees–thinking, “there are only 25 or so–how hard can it bee?” (It’s certainly not easy. I have not yet finished!)
That led to much more study which continues to this day because there is so much to learn and so much we still do not know about these fascinating insects.
David Jennings started young as a naturalist. He had the opportunity to study for two summers on the Smithsonian Institute’s Barro Colorado Island in Panama, where he worked as a field apprentice during high school summer breaks, mistnetting birds and researching sloths, howler monkeys, bats and silky anteaters.
David has a BSFR in Forestry and Wildlife and a master’s in Biostatistics. His passion is wildlife conservation. While in college he was privileged to study under, and garden for, Dr. Eugene Odum, father of modern Ecology.
He has helped protect native forests in Georgia, Arkansas, and Oklahoma before moving to Washington state in 1990. Once here he helped found the 501(c)3 Gifford Pinchot Task Force to protect our remaining ancient forests in SW Washington. He served as their Board Chair for ~15 years.
David is an avid scuba diver here in our NW waters. In 2012 he was honored with the Volunteer of the Year award from REEF for his advocacy for the beleaguered rockfish in Puget Sound. His passion for conservation resulted in Governor Gregoire appointing him to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission where he served from 2009 to 2013, helping pass the the State Wolf Management plan.
David focused on bumble bees and other native pollinators as a needed return to field work after serving on the commission. He has been somewhat obsessed with bumbles ever since…