Insects, Flowers & Food

Why are bumble bees are so important to tomatoes? How many of the plants we use for food are pollinated by insects? Come and explore these questions and more. Learn why flowering plants and their essential insect pollinators produce most of our food. Check out how three insect-dependent plants found in Saskatchewan: Saskatoons, Blueberries, and Mountain Cranberries have been used for thousands of years and continue to be important crops today.

How did this start? The first flowers showed up about 140 million years ago. Since then, plants and insects have co-evolved into two of the largest and most interconnected groups of living things on Earth today. Come and see how these groups have grown through time. Use one of the magnifiers to inspect the different insects trapped in amber millions of years ago. Examine actual fossil plants as old as the dinosaurs. Preserved in amber and rock, these fossil plants and insects provide glimpses of an explosion of new life forms — all because of flowers.

How many species of bees live in Saskatchewan? How have insects changed through time? Which plants were important to the first people living in Saskatchewan? Come and find out how RSM scientists are studying these and many other questions.

Dr. Ryan McKellar studies the fossil record of insects, particularly those found in Cretaceous amber deposits. Inclusions found in amber allow researchers to examine how insect communities have changed over time, and provide the early chapters of the pollination story.

Dr. Evelyn Siegfried’s research interests in Ethnobotany and Paleoethnobotany examine the relationship between people and the landscapes they live within. Part of this exhibit looks at three plants that have been important to First Nations Peoples for thousands of years.

Dr. Cory Sheffield is interested in all things bees from their role as pollinators of crop and wild plants to the conservation of this relationship. The exhibit highlights one at risk species he is studying: the Western Bumble Bee, a crucial pollinator of native plant species and many food crops.

New tools have allowed scientists to see smaller and smaller details in the world around us. RSM scientists use high powered digital cameras connected to computers or scanning electron microscopes to see tiny features which helps identify a particular species of insect or plant pollen.

Nature is often just as beautiful at this microscopic level as at the scale we enjoy every day. In addition to their incredible value to science, these micro-worlds are now also inspiring artists. The exhibit features 9 works by sculptor Jo Golesworthy. Her work provides an enlarged view of the incredible forms and textures of various pollen grains.

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Media

See what the buzz is all about. #3cheers4insects
Insects, Flowers and Food is in the News.
Prairie Dog | Global News | CBC 

Hitting the Road 

If you would like Insects, Flowers & Food, or any of our Travelling Exhibits to visit your location, please email our Travelling Exhibits Coordinator or call 306-787-2811.