March 21, 2017, The #Rustypatched Bumble Bee becomes the first bee species in the continental U.S. to join endangered species list.


What others are saying about
A Ghost in the Making

"A wonderful and poignant short film about our disappearing bumblebees, and
about the importance and beauty of the little creatures that we often forget…a must-see."

Dave Goulson, Author of A Sting in the Tale and founder of Bumblebee Conservation Trust

"A beautiful thing. Well done. Important. An antidote to the crap we are inundated with."

Bernd Heinrich, National Book Award Winner, author of Bumblebee Economics and Mind of the Raven

"This elegant film delivers wonder in every frame. Blending expert science with the exuberance
of a bug-loving kid, Bolt takes us on a journey of discovery."

Lisa Moore, Editor-in- Chief, National Wildlife Magazine

"This much is clear: We ignore bees at our own peril. What happens to them will
eventually happen to us."

Joel Sartore, Photographer, National Geographic

"Our well-being is bound to that of bees and other insects. When we focus on them,
as this film so effectively does, we find that we live amid wonders."

Curt Meine, Author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work

A Ghost in the Making, graceful in both imagery and narrative… is a film about
love, grief and responsibility for the future of wild things and the natural world.”

Krista Schlyer, Author of Continental Divide and Almost Anywhere

"An excellent example of art and science working together to answer the question, 
'Why save a species?'"

Wes Pitts, Editor, Outdoor Photographer Magazine

"Slowing down and looking closely at the world around us is something we keep forgetting to do…
This film will slow you down and stick with you, giving you new eyes and new hope."

Susan T. McElhinney, Photo Editor, Ranger Rick Magazine

"If every creepy-crawly on this planet had Clay Bolt as a friend, I would feel much
better about the future of the poorly understood and under-appreciated members
of our biodiversity!"

Twan Leenders, President, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History


Everyone has heard about bee declines, but with so much attention focused on domesticated honeybees, someone has to speak up for the 4,000 species of native bees in North America. Natural history photographer Clay Bolt is on a multi-year quest to tell the stories of our native bees, and one elusive species – the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee – has become his white whale.

Traveling from state to state in search of the Rusty-patched, he meets the scientists and conservationists working tirelessly to preserve it. Clay’s journey finally brings him to Wisconsin, where he comes face to face with his quarry and discovers an answer to the question that has been nagging him: why save a species?

“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.
— Aldo Leopold

What We've Achieved

March 21, 2017, The #Rustypatched Bumble Bee becomes the first bee species in the continental U.S. to join endangered species list.

February 9, 2017, the #Rustypatched Bumble Bee listing is put on hold by the Trump Administration, one day before the law is finalized. USFWS moves the finalization date to March 21.

On January 10, 2017, the #Rustypatched Bumble Bee became the first bee in the continental U.S. to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

In 2016, thanks in part to the 130,000 people who signed the petition, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the #Rustypatched Bumble Bee.

In September 2015, thanks to the efforts of the Xerces Society and others, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally issued a positive 90-day finding for the #Rustypatched Bumble Bee.