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2 sides of a plum tree

There’s a reason why only one side of this plum tree has given fruit!

It’s a grafted tree. One side flowered first, the rain came, and the flowers were washed out. The other side flowered a day later, the sun came, the pollinators visited, and voila, months later, we’re all eating the large juicy plums.

Same tree. 2 sides. Differing result.

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Flight of Pollen and the thirsty bumblebee

Here’s a message just in, from one of the Flight of Pollen pledgers.

Thank you so much for developing your beautiful game, Flight of Pollen.

I played it for the first time on the 24th November with my colleague Leanne and her husband. We had a lot of fun – though it took us a while to understand how to play! We found the videos quite helpful. Since then I’ve played it a second time with some children from Limehills School. Gosh! Kids catch on much quicker than adults! Amazing.

Thank you for the new instructions. I’ve read them and I think they are very good. We will definitely play again and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Today Leanne and I found an exhausted bumblebee on the ground outside our office. We took her inside and fed her some sugar water. We watched her drink the drops and celebrated as she gradually gained her strength, stretched her legs, groomed herself, wiggled her furry bottom, then flew out the window. Only afterwards did we realise that I had used your lovely note, delivered with the game, to rescue the little creature!

Many thanks, JiL. I think you’ve created something quite wonderful.

Best wishes
Pat

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Starting Flight of Pollen

can be confusing if you’re expecting to start a turn by rolling a dice! Because there isn’t one.
Instead, each round begins by turning over an element card. Here’s Shawn holding them up!
There’s a couple of ways, on this site, to help you begin
– you can post on the forum
– you can check in on our cheat-sheet (which I’m constantly updating)

Flight of Pollen Cheat-Sheet

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our native bees

Native bees come in three sizes. Small, very small and extremely small.

Last summer I was with my friend Gretchen at their community garden in North East Valley, Dunedin. Little black native bees were everywhere! I followed them as the sucked on flax petals (they were after nectar not pollen), and clustered around cabbage tree flowers.

Flighty and fly very fast, seldom settling on one flower for long.

As I observed our short-tongued native bees are generally better at pollinating native flowers, while the introduced honeybees and bumblebees were busy in other parts of the garden, pollinating the crop flowers.

The native bee is an important pollinator in Flight of Pollen, picking up and dropping off a load of three. In the game loads range from one (hoverfly) to eight (bat).

Aotearoa / New Zealand has 28 species of native bees. Most native bees are solitary. At the end of summer they dig holes in the ground, and there they lay a single egg in each cell. These eggs hatch in spring and feed on the nectar and pollen left for them, before emerging.

Quotes from Jay Iwasaki, a PhD student in the Departments of Botany and Zoology at the University of Otago.
In ‘New Zealand’s Smallest Bees’, Our Changing World, by Alison Ballance

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Lifting off with Kapanui School

Katie & Emily (from Kapanui School) playing with me at the Mahara Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly five years ago Kapanui School students in Matt Wynne’s class helped make the how-to-play video for Cloak of Protection. In the meantime a strong bond has been formed between myself and Wellington Enviroschools.

So when Flight of Pollen was nearly finished I, along with the local Enviroschools facilitator Amanda Dobson, returned to Matt Wynne’s class to make another video.

Making a video was different this time because the game was still in development. Class sessions were held, and students practiced the game. But watching the video is also watching seven students learn and play. It is to observe teams become more strategic as they move up each of the four levels.

The video was filmed and edited Paul Britten-Morby, Kaost Graphics. As he knew the students they were very relaxed about being filmed. And the ending has a surprise twist where, at their suggestion, a rule-change to the game is allowed.

Then Flight of Pollen was launched at the Mahara Gallery on Saturday 2nd September. Once again Matt’s Kapanui students were present, this time time to demonstrate and teach the game. Here also, the videos were played for the first time.

The plan is that students from this class, using Nga Manu as a base, will also teach the game to students at other schools. So carrying Flight of Pollen along.

As Emily Warner said, “This was a really fun game to play and I enjoyed collecting berries a lot. Can’t wait till another game is made!”

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the hairiness of moths

Here, seen through a window, is a very hairy moth.

The bigger the moth, the more the hairs, the larger the load of pollen it carries from flower to flower.

Aoteaora/New Zealand is a land of moths, so in Flight of Pollen there’s three: large hebe looper; zebra lichen; and cabbage tree.

All pick up and drop off pollen during the night.

As a child, as the evenings darkened at Lake Wakitipu, we’d turn on the lights and lamps.  Then in would come giant moths who’d circle the light, never ceasing as long as the light was on.

Who knew they were essential pollinators!?

 

 

 

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We won, but we lost at the same time!

In Flight of Pollen, I set out to make a game that was both co-operative and competitive – nothing like a challenge!

We (game designers) once spent a lot of time wondering whether or not this was possible.

Here, you must all co-operate to pollinate. Because, if the weather is bad, if you don’t get out often enough, if too many flowers close-up, you can all die!

Then, if you’re all still alive, there’s a competition to collect the most ensuing berries.

In this video Krystal talks about how this played out, and how it happened that her team ‘won but lost at the same time!’