While many pollinators may seem like just annoying insects, they are actually a very important part of the web of life upon which we all depend. Unfortunately, pollinators have shown disturbing signs of decline in recent years.
“Pollinators play a critical role in our everyday lives, and it’s important that we work to protect their habitat,” said NACD President Lee McDaniel. “Pollinators form the underpinning of a healthy and sustainable future for food and the environment.”
When pollinators shrink in number, many plants either produce less seed or no seed at all. The bottom line is, when pollinators start disappearing, plants start disappearing. Most plants depend upon pollinators to reproduce. While animals can travel and move around to find mates and reproduce, plants are rooted to one spot. Therefore, plants depend on pollinators to move pollen from their anthers to their stigma.
On planet Earth there are more than 100,000 species of insects, including bees, flies, moths, butterflies and beetles that work hard as pollinators. There are also over 1,000 species of other animals such as birds, reptiles and mammals, including bats that pollinate plants.
“America’s families depend on pollinators, essential in agriculture and critical to the production of more than one-third of our food products. In fact, more than 75 percent of flowering plants rely on pollinators,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. “National Pollinator Week is a once-a-year observance that helps to educate the American public about the importance of pollinators to our food supply, information that we should remember year-round.”
Locally, the Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District has been promoting pollinators. Both Carnegie and Jeffersonville libraries are participating in taking care of native plants donated by the OSU Extension Master Gardeners. “One of our focuses this year is on native pollinators,” said Brigitte Hisey, Fayette SWCD Natural Resource Specialist. “There are 400 to 500 native bee species in Ohio. It has been very educational for me to learn more about what we can do for native bees.”
The Master Gardeners have also helped plant 10 pots of native flowers that will be on display at the county fair and Corn Growers Field Day in August. This week, Kroger will be bagging groceries with brown paper bags that have been designed by sixth, sevent and eighth graders at Washington Court House and Miami Trace Junior High art classes. Kroger donated the bags for the local poster contest sponsored by the Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District. The theme is “Your Local Heroes, Your Hard Working Pollinators.”
Be inspired and plant a pollinator garden. It’s never too late. Take the One million Pollinator Garden Challenge. You can find more information at http://millionpollinatorgardens.org/.