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Tamalpais Bee Lab

What is the Tamalpais Bee Lab?

In collaboration with Dr. Gretchen LeBuhn and her lab at San Francisco State University, One Tam is continuing our efforts to monitor and understand more about Mt. Tamalpais’ wild bees and other pollinators. Building on the initial 2017 survey of Mt. Tam’s wild bees, we’ll be expanding monitoring to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin Municipal Water District, California State Parks, and Marin County Parks from 2021-2025. This work stems from One Tam's Peak Health effort to understand the health of Mt. Tam's natural resources, where we saw we needed to learn more about the region's pollinators. 

The initial survey yielded remarkable results, recording 32 genera and 122 bee species from 20 sites managed by Marin Water and California State Parks! You can hear more about these results from Dr. LeBuhn and Dr. Lisette Arellano, One Tam’s Community Science Program Manager.   

Get Involved!

Community science volunteers play a critical role in this study by pinning, sorting, and labeling specimens collected from the field. Join us to connect with the One Tam community of staff and volunteers, learn more about Mt. Tam’s wild pollinators, and gain skills in scientific collections management and insect identification! See currently scheduled volunteer days and link to sign up below.

To comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, these events are limited to 12 pre-registered individuals on a first-come-first-serve basis. Events are held in maintenance garage bays with open doors. Bathrooms and water are available. Be prepared to dress according to the weather and bring a water bottle and snacks. Free parking passes are available and can be used at other Marin Water fee areas the day of the event. More details on protocols and logistics will be sent to registered attendees the week of the event.  

The Tamalpais Bee Lab events will occur on the Saturdays listed below. Please register for each session separately. 

SUMMER 2023 DATES: July 8, July 22, July 29, August 12, August 19

Time: 9 am-12 pm

Location for all events: Sky Oaks Watershed Headquarters, 49 Sky Oaks Rd, Fairfax, CA 94930 

Participants 16 and under must have an adult guardian present per Marin Water regulations. 


If you have questions, please email 


Is there a minimum age for Tamalpais Bee Lab?
At One Tam Community Science, we think science and curiosity are for everyone, so it really depends on the specifics. The fact is that Tam Bee Lab involves very small objects, sharp pins and tweezers, and the ability to sit still for a couple of hours. We have hosted families with kids as young as 7 and everyone had a great time. Middle school and high school students routinely participate and return for more. Ultimately, you know your kids the best. Please note, anyone 16 and under needs to have an adult guardian present per Marin Water regulations.

What do you mean by insect pinning? And why is this necessary?
Insect pinning is a step in the collection and preservation of invertebrate specimens for scientific study. Entomological pins are placed through the thorax of the specimen while very small specimens are glued to pins. Labels are attached to pins for long-term storage and curation of the collection. It’s necessary to collect and pin insects because they are incredibly diverse, small, and poorly studied. Bee knowledge is extremely regional and we are just starting to learn about them in systematic way. It is not possible to tell apart the 400+ species of bees on Mt. Tam without looking at them closely, often under a microscope. Insect collections, like all museum collections, provide information to present-day and future scientists, allowing us to learn more about our environment and how we can best care for it. You can read more about why insect collection is important here.

What do these events look like?
Below are a few images from this years' events that will give you an idea of what volunteering with the Tamalpais Bee Lab is like.


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