Paige Embry

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Using an engaging blend of science, gardening and storytelling, Paige Embry delves into the world of bees. Going far beyond the hive of the honey bee, Embry takes you into the secret world of America’s 4000 species of native bees.

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Paige Embry’s multi-year immersion into the lives of America’s native bees began with a gardening epiphany—European-import honey bees can’t pollinate tomatoes, but a variety of native bees can. This realization led to an obsession with native bees that cascaded into taking classes, wading through the scientific literature, raising bees, participating in bee science, modifying her garden, and trekking into fields and onto farms with bee experts to learn who America’s bees really are, and how they are faring. It also led to a book.

Paige has spent her adult life involved in science and nature, latching onto something and loving it hard for a long time. She fell in love with geology in the very first geology class in college and then with plants and gardening when she moved to Seattle nearly 30 years ago. She started a garden design and coaching business and has taught classes on geology, soils, gardening, and pruning. She began writing to promote the business and discovered the pleasure of writing and the power of story-telling. She’s been surprised to find that her Georgia roots, which she thought were long-decayed, sneak into her writing.

In addition to her book, Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them (Timber Press, 2018) Paige has written for Horticulture, The American Gardener, Scientific American, the Food and Environmental Reporting Network and others.

In her talks Paige weaves bee facts and gardening tips into stories. America's four thousand species of native bees flit about the countryside in the shadow of their charismatic cousin, the honey bee, and in her talks Paige hopes show people how varied, fascinating, and useful those native bees are—and how easy it is to share a yard with them.


  • Masons, Miners, and Thieves—The Real Lives of America’s Bees Did a bee go extinct because of greenhouse tomatoes? Why is a bee nicknamed Cinderella? Follow a gardener’s adventures into the field with bee scientists and farmers to explore the lives of bees. Tucked into stories where bees build turrets and paint walls are lessons on how bees live—and how our gardens can help them. Based on the book Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them.
  • Bring in the Natives Bees for More and Better Fruit Honey bees don’t do it all, especially not in home gardens. On chill, gray days when honey bees stay in, shivering in their hives, some of our native bees are out pollinating. Even city gardens can host a variety of native bees and making a home for them is much easier than keeping honey bees. Learn how inviting a variety of bees into the garden may produce not only more fruit, but better fruit too.
  • Meet the Neighbors—Bees in PNW Gardens Gardens can be a haven for all sorts of bees. The U.S. and Canada have 4000 species of bees. The Columbia Basin has nearly 650 species, Seattle has nearly 100 (so far). Learn about our bees--who they are, how to recognize them, what makes them different from a wasp. Discover hands-on ways to help bees both locally, by modifying your garden, and globally, by participating in citizen science projects like the Great Sunflower Project.
  • Gardening for Bees and Other Pollinators This talk covers the basics. What is a bee and how does one tell a bee from some of its lookalikes? Who are some of our bees and how are they different from honey bees? What do bees and other pollinators need and how does one make a home for them in the garden? This talk is fairly informal and aimed at smaller groups since I bring books, bees, and other visual aids. It can be run without audiovisual equipment and is ideal for nurseries where good pollinator plants can be brought in and talked about.
  • "The Book Talk" This talk is not just about bees--it's also about how an ex-geologist, occasional horticulture professional, mother of two came to write a book about native bees.


Seattle, WA

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Audience Reviews

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The Bee's Knees!

Christina Pfeiffer from Seattle, WA - 03/05/2018 00:36:33

I had the pleasure of hearing Paige speak at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. She's an eloquent speaker with compelling stories and information about the vital connections between bees, plants and people.

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Great book!

Gayle Larson from WA - 02/22/2018 21:36:27

Laughing while learning--what could be better? Paige's stories and descriptions of her adventures as she studied native bees are as entertaining as they are fascinating. The book is an easy read, filled with simply gorgeous photos of the bees themselves.