By Torie Doll, University Communications and Marketing
When Kobe Phillips arrived at the USF Tampa campus as a first-year student three years ago, he went directly to the USF Botanical Gardens to become a beekeeper. Phillips' passion for pollinators earned him the title “Campus Bee Guy” among his Judy Genshaft Honors College classmates.
“Beyond bees being one of the most important organisms on the planet, I think the use of bees as symbolism for community is one of the reasons that they’re important to me,” said Phillips, an ecology and evolutionary biology major. “They are also a show of how one member of that entire unit can create so much change and so much impact, and it’s one of the big things I try and bring out in the work that I do.”
Through his involvement in revitalizing the USF Community Garden, Phillips developed the service-learning course, Rooted in Place, alongside Judy Genshaft Honors College faculty and now teaches as a peer educator about sustainability, beekeeping and urban ecology. He is also working on creating pollinator habitats using bio-receptive sculptures and he plans to attend graduate school to focus on further developing these designs.
“We’re creating a sculpture that allows people to learn from it, but also allows the pollinators to benefit from it,” Phillips said. “My ultimate goal is to be able to increase our biodiversity through these sculptures and use art and technology with ecology.”