written by: Kelley V Phillips, Outreach Coordinator
It’s National Pollinator Week! From June 22 – 28, we encourage you to learn about and reflect on the pollinators who have made your favorite garden, forest, yard (and even your afternoon snack!) possible.
The pollinators in your life
- 1 of every 3 bites of food– including nuts, berries, melons, potatoes and squash– is available because of pollinators.
- Pollinators contribute more than $20 billion annually to US economy through pollination of crops like cotton, sunflowers and nuts.
- Pollinators native to an area can have a higher impact than ones brought in by humans. One native leaf cutter bee can do the pollination job of 20 non-native bees.
- Though pollinators are often thought of as only insects like bees and butterflies, there are as many as 1,500 vertebrates like birds and mammals that serve as pollinators. This list includes include common and unique wildlife like hummingbirds and opossums or fruit bats and lemurs.
- Pollinator populations have declined worldwide because of habitat loss and the rapid spread of exotic plant species that don’t support pollinators’ food and shelter needs.
You can be a pollinator hero this week and beyond…
- Plant for pollinators– consider native flower beds and gardens over traditional lawns if you’re able.
- Build habitats for bird and mammal pollinators like a bat house or hummingbird feeder.
- Limit use of pesticides that kill pollinators critical to reproduction of some plants and herbicide that damages plants necessary to the survival of some pollinators.
- Talk to your friends, neighbors and garden club about ways to increase pollinator-friendly plants in your local area.
- Visit forests and prairies like Dutro-Ernst Woods, Mike Kiley Forest Preserve, Fall Creek Woods or White River Woods to observe pollinators in action!
- Support organizations that focus on habitat conservation like Red-tail Land Conservancy!
The next time you stop to smell a flower or take a bite out of a juicy cucumber, remember your friend the pollinator made it possible. If you’re interested in knowing more sustaining wildlife with native plants in your yard, we recommend reading “Bringing Nature Home” by Douglas W. Tallamy.
Kelley V Phillips is the Outreach Coordinator for Red-tail Land Conservancy. Her work in community engagement inspires excitement and wonder in nature through education and tangible experiences.
Pictured above: Indigo Duskywing Butterfly