Kit Prendergast, aka the Bee Babette, is a native bee ecologist. She recently completed her PhD thesis on the determinants of native bees in urban areas and the influence of the introduced European honey bee on native bees and pollination networks. Kit is now loving being out in the bush among wildflowers doing surveys for local councils and environmental departments to discover the diversity of bees in the southwest Western Australian biodiversity hotspot. Kit admins the Facebook group Bees in the burbs (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Beesintheburbs), and has written the popular book ‘Creating a Haven for Native Bees’ (https://www.facebook.com/CreatingaHavenforNativeBeesBook). Her Twitter handle is @BeeBabette, insta is @kit.prendergast (mainly of her Maremma sheepdog Zephyr, but with a fair few bees and flowers), and her research can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kit_Prendergast/research

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?
Night Owl
2 Are you pro- or anti-pun? Pro-pun
3 Do you have any pets?I LOVE animals. I pretty much have a zoo. I have Zephyr my fur-daughter (a Maremma sheepdog), Alfie the Bunny rabbit, a rescued baby lorikeet called Gemima, Banana and Phoenix the cockatials, Mila the cat, Bud the budgie, Allegra, Melody, Sunny, Baby, Tweetie, Forte, and Venus the lovebirds, Sweet potato and Pumpkin the guinea pigs, and Mudkip the axolotl.
4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?I had a exhibition for Fringe festival of native bee signs and short snappy info, and one broke on the final night. It’s now in my potplant at my front door, featuring an image of a bee saying “Bees are vital for plant sex!”
5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?Neither
6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?Neither
7 Do you speak any other languages?I speak dog pretty well.
8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?Well, I’m a part time circus performer, so if I switched professions I’d probably go full-time circus artist.
9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?Biology is LIFE! (both literally and figuratively).
10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?I’d sell it as I’m very happy in the safest and one of the most biodiverse places in the world right now 🙂
11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?Oooh, probably talking to animals!
12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?Self-plug: read my science articles ;P Especially if you’re planning on designing a pollinator study, definitely read ‘The relative performance of sampling methods for native bees: an empirical test and review of the literature’.
https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.3076

And I definitely recommend everyone read this one if you care about biodiversity and the planet (and you totally should!): ‘Defending biodiversity through our diets’
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/aec.12893

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?What are days off? … I would want to spend time with those that make me happy, probably do some acro at Kings Park.
14 What are three things you can’t live without? Oxygen, water and food. But for the non-life requiring things: Zephyr, nature, love.
15 What beverage gives you life?Cold brew coffee or Zero Coke Slushy.
16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?Probably ‘The Immortals’ quartet by Tamora Piece. Her novels in general, with strong, quirky determined young female protagonists.
17 What did you want to be when you grew up?It varied considerably depending on my age, but for most of my childhood I wanted to be whatever David Attenborough was ;P
18 What drives you and keeps you going?Passion, my love for nature, wanting to make a difference, fear of failure (yeah, I know not a great drive but it is what it is).
19 What got you excited in science?I guess I’ve always just been super curious and had a thirst for learning, and a love for the natural world.
20 What excites you about science now?I love discovering how nature works, what species have evolved, and learning about this beautiful world we live in.
21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?Dancing around like an exotic dancer in the kitchen whenever a Jason Derulo song comes on
22 What is a secret talent of yours?I’m super flexible and can do bendbacks and the splits
23 What is your favorite game?Cards Against Humanity
24 What is the last book you read?The Reason for Flowers: Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives by Stephen Buchmann (Prof Buchmann kindly gave me the book as thanks for helping study Amegilla dawsoni)
25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?It was actually from a Street performer at the Freo Arts festival and he said that you have to find the thing you’re good at, and follow your passion to become better at it.
26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?Standing backsault.
27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?Make good life choices (which to date I have not).
28 What is the best way to de-stress?Stretch
29 What is the last thing you watched?An acro duo performance
30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?Pee jars to catch bees in. Or that time I didn’t have a pee jar so I caught a bee and put it in my sock and was walking around with 1 sock on and the other with a bee in it in my backpack.
31 What is your favorite animal?Probably horses, but also dogs and parrots.
32 What is your favorite book?A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson, A Journey to Distant Mountains by Jill Dobson and Deltora Quest Series (I know, that’s way more than one)
33 What is your favorite comfort food?Sugar-freezies Icy Poles
34 What is your favorite day of the year?A nice day in spring?
35 What is your favorite plant?Eucalyptus and related species as they tend to have heaps of bees on them!
36 What is your favorite science fact?Every organism is related through evolution, having evolved from a common ancestor.
37 What is your favorite season?Spring
38 What is your favorite smell?Puppies
39 What is your favorite sound?Bell birds
40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?I’m unique!
41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?Alluring
42 What is your proudest moment?Getting a Forrest Scholarship
43 What kind of tree would you be?Corymbia ficifolia
44 What’s the best thing about where you live?So much native vegetation and wildlife still remain (and we MUST protect them – no more land clearing!)
45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.Although I have a very strong affinity with the sciences, I also have an Arts degree in English & Cultural Studies
46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?Peter Morse (@peterandtheoctopus)