Public Engagement

This page was developed by Laurel Treviño. Please, contact her with questions or comments. See Public Engagement below for contact information.


5-20 United Nations World Bee Day

UT Bee Campus USA was certified on June 2, 2020 (see Public Engagement below).

UT Biodiversity Center June 21, 2020 “Nesting isn’t just for the birds” blog about nest-building leaf-cutter bees

BBC Radio Science in Action interviewed Dr. Shalene Jha on “Learning about bees through paternity tests for fruits” April 5, 2018

The Herald Democrat, January 2018, reported on the Native Prairie Restoration for Pollinators, a collaborative project between Dr. Elinor Lichtenberg, Dr. Shalene Jha (UT Austin) and Dr. Kristen Baum (Oklahoma State).

The Daily Texan of The University of Texas at Austin featured “Small bees can pull their own weight in pollination” Nov. 16, 2017.

UT News, of The University of Texas at Austin featured a study on the secret sex lives of trees in which tiny bees play a big role, Nov. 6, 2017.

National Public Radio, Science Friday interviewed Dr. Jha on native bees:

Texas Standard & The Source discuss bumble bees (Molecular Ecology, 2015)

Huffington Post reported on sustainable coffee (Bioscience 2014)

The New York Times reported on California bumble bee research (PNAS 2013)

NPR All Things Considered discussed shade coffee pollinators (PNAS 2010)

NPR Talk of the Nation – Science Friday discussed shade coffee seed disperser research (Current Biology 2008).


Laurel Treviño Murphy is Outreach Program Coordinator for the Jha Lab. You can contact her at or (512) 232-3521. The University of Texas at Austin, College of Natural Sciences, 1 University Station G2500, Austin, TX 78712


Lab members love to share their research and public engagement activities!

The UT Biodiversity Center, in collaboration with the Jha Lab, also offers information on native pollinators and bees. See the June 21, 2020 blog that Nicole Elmer put together with Laurel Treviño’s photos and documentation of leaf-cutter bee nest-building. Nesting Isn’t Just For The Birds!

UT Bee Campus USA became a reality on June 2, 2020! Laurel Treviño and Shalene Jha worked with the UT Bee Campus committee since 2018 to attain Bee Campus USA certification from the Xerces Society. The photo below shows committee members (left-to-right) Jill Parrish (UT Sustainability Center – Green Fund), Richard Zhang (Beevo student beekeepers), Laurel Treviño (Jha Lab), Jen Hrobar (Landscape Services Office), Nancy Moran (FRI ‘Bugs in Bugs’), Jack Rouse & Emily Mitchell (Beevo). 

UT members collaborate on at least 10 research-based education and public engagement activities that focus on pollinators. UT offers 14 non-academic and credit courses that include pollinators in their syllabi. UT field-lab and biological-station directors coordinate research and educational projects involving pollinators, and 4 websites inform the general public about native bees. We even take our Longhorn bees to the rodeo!

In 2018 and 2019, at the invitation of the S.A.L.E. Ranch Rodeo Scholarship Committee, we represented Integrative Biology at the Texas Wildlife Expo of the San Antonio Rodeo where thousands of visitors learned that native bees are part of the state’s wildlife.









Monarch Fest 2019

in San Marcos, TX



Laurel has taught the “Native Bees of Texas” course at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the invitation of Tanya Zastrow in 2018, 2019, and 2021. It includes lab and field components in addition to slide-based lectures. ~20 adult students have participated in each class, where observing native bee specimens with scopes and seeing live bees in native plant gardens are the highlights. This course forms part of the Texas Pollinator Bioblitz, and Laurel has led a bioblitz since 2017, with the participation of staff from UT’s Sustainability Office and co-organizers Karen Bishop (NWF) and Johnnie Smith (TPWD).

UT Austin Sustainability Week, Pollinator Garden & Orchard Tour was led by Jen Hrobar of Landscape Services and Laurel Treviño of the Jha Lab in 2017 – photos


Megan O’Connell, a grad student and Scientist in Residence in UT’s Environmental Science Institute, educated teachers and students of Laurel Mountain Elementary School, Round Rock ISD on pollinators and gardens. Fellow Jha Lab grad students helped install a school pollinator garden

ESI Hot Science-Cool Talk was given by Shalene Jha in 2017 


Boy Scouts Event 2017

Waller Creek Conservancy/Animal Facts Club, Jha lab & LBJWFC 2016

Sara, Laurel, Megan, Kim lead outreach activities at Laguna Gloria 2015

Laguna Gloria Kim Sarah Laguna Gloria girl w net Laguna Gloria Butterfly-Girl Lupe Laguna Gloria boy bee boxWe’ve hosted a Pollinator Nature Nights table with educational exhibits and activities every year since 2015 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.



Shalene Jha was the CNS Family Day speaker in 2015