Pull out the party hats --- or better yet the antennae headbands --- next week, June 17th-23rd is National Pollinator Week!
Established through a Senate Resolution in 2007, National Pollinator Week was established to help bring attention to declining pollinator populations. More than 150 common food crops, from avocados to zucchini (and most importantly chocolate and coffee), rely directly on pollinators to move pollen among flowers to facilitate fertilization, which ultimately leads to the development of fruits and seeds. Beyond human food crops, an estimated 75% of all flowering plants rely on pollinators so the impact of declining pollinator numbers has significant implications for ecosystems across the globe.
Fortunately, efforts to bring attention to this crisis are showing signs of success. For example, as part of the National Pollinator Garden Network, KidsGardening helped promote the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge with the goal of creating networks of home and community gardens across the country to provide habitats for pollinators. This February the collaborative team proudly announced reaching our goal of having over 1,000,000 pollinator friendly sites registered. Data collected and shared in a final impact report indicated that the Challenge went far beyond the registered sites showing that it led to a shift in consumer awareness, and wider actions such as pro-pollinator pledges, proclamations and policies. Since the campaign launch, 92 percent of garden centers have seen an increase in demand for pollinator-friendly plants and services and 86 percent are offering more pollinator-friendly plants, services, and education. It is not too late to join! You can continue to register your pollinator garden and be part of the initiative.
Looking for specific activity ideas for how engage your youth garden program participants during National Pollinator Week? Explore the new Pollinator Patch Program created through our partnership with Cabot Creamery Co-operative. The guide offers activities designed to help participants understand the importance of pollinators in our world and teach them practical ways they can help protect and preserve pollinator populations. After completing the activities you can request free Pollinator Patches for each of your participants.
Here are some additional resources you may want to investigate this Pollinator Week:
Supporting pollinator habitats can be as simple as leaving an unmowed area of your yard to allow natural habitat to develop. Visit our Wild for Pollinator webpage for more information and to find links to many of our KidsGardening pollinator resources.
Educators can request up to 5 free copies of the 2019 Pollinator Poster showing endangered pollinators and their habitats from the USDA National Resources Conservation Service. Complete details about the animals and plant pictured can be found on the Pollinator Partnership website.
Check out Pollinator.org to download detailed planting guides that offer in depth information about native pollinators and plants in your area.
From podcasts to educational resources, The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has put together an impressive collection of pollinator related links to help you learn more.
Happy Pollinator Week everyone! Don’t forget to thank all the bees, hummingbirds, moths, bats, butterflies, flies and beetles you see for all their hard work next week!