Here in rural Minnesota, Bluestem finds that many of our neighbors are concerned about the decline of pollinators. One action that helps bees and other pollinators is to provide habitat (though this in itself doesn't solve the complex matrix of habitat, parasites, pesticides and fodder that factors into the problem).
In Wednesday's Brainerd Dispatch we read in Chelsey Perkins' story, Baxter City Council: A buffet for the bees: Pollinator garden planned for Baxter park:
A storm-damaged area of Loren Thompson Park will soon see new life with the planting of a pollinator garden.
The Baxter City Council learned about plans for the garden—which represents a partnership between the city's parks and trails department, the Crow Wing Power Green Touch program and Crow Wing County Master Gardener Ken Lueken—at its Tuesday work session.
Rick Pederson of Crow Wing Power said the park seemed a good fit for the program, which recently wrapped up a three-year project in Berrywood Park. The program provides funding up to $1,000 per year toward improving parks. . . .
Pederson said the goal of the garden is to introduce a more natural environment for pollinators while restoring the landscape from the storm damage. Attracting butterflies and bees offers an opportunity to educate the public about their importance, Pederson noted.
"I didn't realize how big of a deal pollinators actually are, in terms of our food stocks," Pederson said.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pollinating animals assist in pollinating more than 75 percent of flowering plants and almost 75 percent of all crops.
"Often we may not notice the hummingbirds, bats, bees, beetles, butterflies and flies that carry pollen from one plant to another as they collect nectar," the FWS website states. "Yet without them, wildlife would have fewer nutritious berries and seeds, and we would miss many fruits, vegetables, and nuts, like blueberries, squash, and almonds, not to mention chocolate and coffee, all of which depend on pollinators."
Recent studies on the populations of pollinators indicates a precipitous decline for a multitude of reasons, including habitat loss and disease. The FWS notes planting pollinator gardens, which offers a variety of nectar and pollen sources, is one way to help.
The educational aspect of a garden like this meant encouraging people to install gardens like this one at their homes, he said.
"It's a living classroom for the public in general," Lueken said, noting youth projects in the past have resulted in young people encouraging their parents to plant pollinator gardens. . . .
We're happy that the project has already educated Otter Tail Power's Green Touch coordinator about the value of pollinators. If the company ever gets around to developing solar gardens, perhaps it would consider planting pollinator habitat around them. All the cool kids are doing it.
Read more about the proposed park improvement in the Brainerd Dispatch.
Image: Making a pollinator-friendly world.
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