Wings of Life documentary explores the lives of pollinators

Still from Wings of Life documentary. Image courtesy of Disneynature

In its continuing recognition of Asheville’s Pollination Celebration week, Bee City USA hosted a screening of  Disneynature’s Wings of Life at the Fine Art Theatre on Thursday, June 19.  The screening, which served as a benefit for Bee City USA, offered attendees a chance to understand the mysteries of pollination as told from the perspective of several types of flowers.

Wings of Life explains the power of the relationships between pollinators and the flowers they pollinate by exploring the complex evolutionary mechanisms that allow the relationships to function so effectively.  The film examines pollinators from a broad perspective with vignettes featuring bats, bumble bees, honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

The intense resolution of Wings of Life and the incredibly minute scale at which the film was shot allow viewers to understand pollination and its beauty in a way that it has never been shown before.   The film also underscores the importance of pollinators from a food supply perspective and concludes with a urgent message in calling for their protection.  Interestingly, the film shied away from the more political aspects of the challenges facing pollinators and focused solely on the issue of habitat conservation.

Following the conclusion of the film, Bee City USA hosted a panel of experts on bees and butterflies who took questions from the audience related to pollinator protection.  Panelist for the event were Diane Almond, Kim Bailey and Susan Meyers. The panelist revealed the dire nature of the threats facing pollinators by pointing out that 2014 was the lowest observed population of monarch butterflies, showing a 90 percent decline in the species (the human equivalent of losing the entire United States population with the exception of Ohio and Florida).

Many of the questions from the audience revolved around the implications of pesticides in the loss of pollinators, but attendees also wanted to know what they could contribute to helping save the bees as well.  Panelist gave advice on species that could attract pollinators as well as how to live more harmoniously with bees and other vital insects.

For more information on Bee City U.S.A.’s Pollination Celebration week of events visit their website.


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About Josh O'Conner
Josh O’Conner is an urban/land use planner with a passion for urban agriculture. He can be reached at @kalepiracy or @joshoconner on Twitter or e-mailed at

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