Sauk Valley

Bee researcher receives Nachusa Grasslands award for outstanding contribution

Pictured: Dr. Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar, recipient of the Robert & Patricia Anderson Outstanding Contribution to Science at Nachusa Grasslands Award

FRANKLIN GROVE – Friends of Nachusa Grasslands has awarded a Pennsylvania bee researcher the Robert and Patricia Anderson Award for outstanding contribution to science at Nachuasa Grasslands.

Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar, an assistant professor at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, is just the second person to be recognized.

Bruninga-Socolar began studying bees at the grasslands nine years ago. Her work has expanded to study the effects of land management actions, such as the introduction of bison, on the diversity and abundance of bee species and how they subsequently engage in pollination.

Her scholarship on the Nachusa Grasslands has since attracted other bee research to the 4,000-acre nature preserve. Habitat restoration is creating one of the largest and most biologically diverse grasslands in Illinois.

The Anderson award was founded in 2020 by Keith Anderson of DeKalb to honor his parents and reflect their love of nature.

The award also permanently funds science grants at the grasslands. The science grants are raised and administered by the Friends of Nachusa Grasslands, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing long-term care and management for the preserve.

For information about conservation science grants funded by Friends of Nachusa Grasslands, visit To learn more about the Nachusa Grasslands, visit