Science in the Field: Tracking Wild Bumblebees in Sequoia
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wildlife & nature • 4 days, 3 nights

Science in the Field: Tracking Wild Bumblebees in Sequoia

wildlife & nature • 4 days, 3 nights

Science in the Field: Tracking Wild Bumblebees in Sequoia

No dates currently available. Notify me when dates are added.
  • Group Size 8 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    Outdoor Expedition
from $1,315 USD per person
No dates currently available.Notify me when dates are added.

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Trip Overview

Venture into the open meadows of the Sierra Nevada and learn firsthand about the plight of the humble bumblebee. Alongside expert biologists, we’ll journey deep into Sequoia National Park to spot, study, and help conduct research on these small but mighty pollinators. The first step to protecting them is understanding them, so we’ll be embarking on an immersive bee-seeking expedition to help identify specimens, track populations, and explore the native wildlife of this spectacular landscape.

  • Citizen science research
  • Hands-on field experience
  • Pollinator conservation
  • Stunning national park views


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Trip Leader

Dr. Michelle Duennes
Dr. Michelle Duennes is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. She has studied bumble bees in Mexico and Central America, the Arctic Circle in Alaska, and the Sierra Nevada. Her lab group studies a broad range of topics in ecology, evolution and conservation with a wide variety of organisms, but many of her students study bumble bee conservation. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, The Sacramento Bee and the Science for the People podcast.

Additional Info

Arrival & Departure

The Silver City Resort is located roughly 2.5 hours from Fresno, California. Check-in at the resort begins at 3 p.m., and we'll plan to meet at the resort restaurant at 6 p.m. for dinner, so travelers flying into Fresno Airport should plan to land by 2 p.m on Day 1. 

Our trip concludes the morning of Day 4. Check-out at the resort is at 12 p.m., but you’re welcome to depart Sequoia at your leisure. If you’re flying out of Fresno, we recommend booking a flight that departs in the late afternoon or evening of Day 4. 

Activity Level

This trip will require some physical activity. Travelers should be comfortable hiking between two and five miles per day, often in unmarked sections of the valley, and sometimes involving bushwhacking. You'll need sturdy hiking boots as well as protective clothing to prevent cuts and scratches to your arms and legs. We'll also be spending extended time in the forest after dark with headlamps and flashlights.


We'll be staying in spacious, shared chalets at the Silver City Resort in Sequoia National Park. Solo travelers should be prepared to share a room with two twin beds with another traveler of the same gender, depending on the composition of the group. Pairs traveling together will stay in shared rooms outfitted with queen beds. Each chalet has one bathroom and will accommodate six travelers.

Health & Safety

You’ll be in close proximity to, or in contact with, insects and arthropods. Your researcher-guides are trained in handling these creatures, and they’ll help you learn how to approach the bees we’ll be observing and tracking. However, this trip isn’t recommended if you have a severe allergy to bee venom. It’s also important that you not touch the bioluminescent millipedes, which secrete cyanide.

Note that much of our trip takes place between 6,600 and 7,200 feet (2,012 to 2,195 meters), which can make activity more physically demanding. Altitude affects some more than others; if you’re sensitive to altitude, we encourage you to arrive a day or two early to acclimate.


Due to social distancing guidelines, we encourage travelers to use their own vehicles for transportation to and from the collection sites (we recommend using 4 wheel drive if you have). There are a limited number of spots available in the research vehicles. Please contact us at if you do not plan to use your own transportation during the trip. 

  • Three nights of lodging in double-accommodation rooms in a spacious shared chalet, or private studio rooms in the Silver City Mountain Resort for couples traveling together. Single travelers should be prepared to share a room with another traveler of the same gender, depending on the composition of the group.
  • Three dinners, a daily picnic lunch, and additional snacks.
  • Trip leadership and expert insight from a bumblebee biologist.
  • A new headlamp for our after-dark forest excursions.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura outdoor enthusiasts, excited to learn more about bumblebee ecology and conservation.
  • Flights and transportation to and from the Silver City Resort
  • Transportation to and from collection sites
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including one dinner and all alcoholic beverages with the exception of those listed on the itinerary.
  • If applicable, applying for a U.S. visa.
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Trip FAQ

A portion of the proceeds from this trip will be donated to The Duennes Lab, a research laboratory studying the impact of habitat degradation on bumble bee health in addition to studying broadly how conservation issues affect the ecology and evolution of organisms. By engaging in citizen science, your time spent tracking bees alongside researchers directly contributes to their work. Additionally, by sharing your experience with friends and family, you can help spread the word about bees' crucial—and threatened—role in our environment and food systems.

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