Pollinator Week

This week is pollinator week – a time to celebrate the essential role they play in our world.

Bees and butterflies get most of the credit for pollination. But bats, birds, small mammals, and countless insects are pollinators too. Even pesky flies and wasps are pollinators. Plants need these pollinators to help them spread pollen to reproduce. By doing so, these small creatures sustain entire ecosystems. Those healthy ecosystems, in turn, maintain and support biodiversity and sequester carbon.

Not only that, but did you know that pollinators are responsible for 1 in 3 bites of food we eat? It’s true! Pollinators are responsible for pollinating more than 1,200 different crops. Translated to dollars and cents, the services of pollinators adds 217 billion dollars to the world’s economy annually.

But pollinators need our help. At home and in our yards, one of the easiest things to do is to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides. We can also provide habitat for pollinators by leaving parts of the yard wild and letting leaves and branches stay where they fall. Helping pollinators means less yard work!

People wanting to go one step further can plant pollinator gardens, making sure to provide a variety of native plants that bloom throughout the season and into the fall. I want to stress the word “native” in that last sentence. Insects and other pollinators prefer plants native to an area; they’ve co-evolved with these plants for millions of years. This creates stronger, more resilient ecosystems. So to support biodiversity, plant native!

What else can you do? Spread the word about the importance of pollinators and the simple steps everyone can take to help them!