Green and Simple: Celebrate National Pollinator Week
When pollinators are threatened, our food chain and our ecosystems are threatened. Learn what you can do to help!
Did you know that pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food that we eat?
Or that pollinators help to grow approximately 1,000 plants that are used for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines around the world?
Or that some plants and animals have interdependent relationships where a single pollinator species depends on a single type of plant food and vice versa? Neither can survive without the other.
These are just a few of the fascinating facts about pollinators shared by the Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit organization dedicated to the health, protection, and conservation of all pollinating animals, as part of the 6th Annual Pollinator Week.
Initiated by the Pollinator Partnership in 2007, Pollinator Week has blossomed into an international celebration of the more than 200,000 invertebrate species (such as bees, birds, butterflies) and 1,000 vertebrate species (such as birds, mammals, and reptiles) that pollinate 75 percent of all flowering plants.
The initiative was designed to encourage people around the world to learn more about the important role that pollinators play in our ecosystems, to take active steps to support them, and to address declining populations.
So, just who are our pollinators and why should we care?
For most of my own life, when I thought about pollinators, I thought about bees and I am sure I am not alone. While bees play a significant role in pollination, I was fascinated to learn that flies, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and other insects and small mammals are also pollinators. They, too, make it possible for plants to grow seeds and fruits that later become our food, beverages, clothing, and more. As the animals move pollen from one flower to another within the same species, the flowers are then fertilized and can go on to produce fruit and seeds. When pollinators are threatened, our food chain and our ecosystems are threatened.
The good news is that there is a good deal that each of us can do to help, and it’s really easy! In fact, the same work that you would do to create a backyard wildlife habitat would benefit pollinators as well. Supporting our pollinators is just one more reason to go native in your yard and garden. The Pollinator Partnership has collected an array of resources for individuals, organizations, school, groups, and others to get involved.
The more you learn more about pollinators, the more inspired you will be to act. I once thought that people planted gardens that blooms from early spring into late fall for the simple beauty of it. Who doesn’t love the appeal of flowers in continual bloom? But then I learned that having continual bloom helps to sustain wildlife by providing food and shelter for an extended period and during migration. I have also learned that leaving some plants in place after bloom or leaving a fallen dead tree limb in a safe spot provides nesting sites for some insects. We are still working on the continual bloom in our garden, but I am happy to report that a former compost pile that has been replaced by a compost tumbler, has evolved into brush pile.
What can you do?
- Attend the Pollinator Festival at the USDA Farmers Market on Friday, June 22, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (see you there!) Free and open to the public.
- S.H.A.R.E. (simple have areas reserved for the environment) your landscape.
- Learn more about how to create a pollinator garden. Download a PDF garden guide for your area or use the BeeSmart app for iPhone and Android.
- Get a pollinator license plate. Visit Pollinator Plates to learn more about how the purchase of a pollinator license plate can help the cause.
- Buy native plants. Visit Nature by Design, check with vendors at the farmers market, and ask plant centers to carry native plants
- Reduce pesticide use.
Finally … spread the word!