Everyone with a landscape can make a difference for pollinators. Simply Having Areas Reserved for the Environment enables homeowners, land managers, farmers, individuals, corporations, schools, roadside managers, and golf courses to increase the number of pollinators in the area by making conscious choices to include plants that provide essential habitat for bees, bats, birds, butterflies, moths, beetles, and hummingbirds. What better time than during National Pollinator Week, June 15-21, 2015.
Initiated and managed by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, National Pollinator Week was unanimously approved and designated by the U.S. Senate in 2007. Each year since, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has signed the proclamation in an effort to address the urgent issues of declining pollinator populations.
Worldwide there is evidence that pollinating animals have suffered from loss of habitat, pesticide misuse, competition from invasive species, disease, and parasites. Many pollinators are federally “listed species”, meaning that there is documented information confirming the disappearance and/or significant population reduction in natural areas. The United States has lost over 50% of its managed honeybee colonies over the past ten years. The European Union has been so concerned that they invested over $20 million investigating the status of pollinators in Europe.
Pollinator health affects everyone. Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Food and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include: apples, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, and tequila. In the U.S., pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually.
The native plants that can be identified and preserved or introduced include trees, shrubs, vines and perennials. Some of them include: Easter Redbud (Cercis canadensis), Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.), Passionflowers (Passiflora spp.), Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.), Goldenrod (Solidago spp.), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Simply identifying and avoiding damaging many of the existing native plants will allow anyone to provide important homes and food for many different pollinating animals. During National Pollinator Week S.H.A.R.E. your space.