Wednesday, June 24, 2020

10 ways you can help pollinators

Pollinators are in trouble. 

Unfortunately, pollinators are in decline worldwide. Habitat loss, invasive species, parasites, and pesticides are largely to blame.

You can help save pollinators. Here are 10 ways you can directly help pollinators which protects and restore these critically important wildlife species.

  1. Become a Wildlife Gardener
    Join the growing movement of Wildlife Gardeners who are have made the choice to nurture their own small piece of the Earth–their own yards and gardens–with the needs of wildlife like pollinators in mind. There are many sources on the internet to find a local pollinator gardening initiative. 
  2. Plant Natives
    Native plants co-evolved with the native wildlife of your region. Native plants form the foundation of habitat for pollinators by providing them with pollen and nectar for food, cover from the elements and predators, and places where their young can grow. The best way to attract beautiful butterflies, busy bees, speedy hummingbirds and other pollinators is to fill your yard with native plants.
  3. Gives Bees Nesting Places
    There are 4,000 bee species native to North America (the honey bee is a European import) and most of those don’t form hives. Instead, individual female bees lay their eggs in tunnels in decaying wood or in sandy soil. You can offer such nesting spots by leaving tree snags on your property, by leaving bare batches of sandy soil, or by building or buying whimsical native bee houses.  SkylyfeADK sells Mason ,Carpenter and Bumblebee habitats.  We sell these items on site during our educational presentations or can be ordered.  If your interested please email us for more details at [email protected]
  4. Avoid Pesticides
    Bees are our most important pollinators, and they are insects. So are butterflies like the monarch. Using insecticides will kill these insects. Herbicides will kill important native plants such as milkweed that pollinators rely upon as a food source and a place to raise young. Make the commitment to avoid using chemicals and to maintain your garden in a natural, organic way. A Natural pesticide recipe can be found at SkyLyfeADK.com
  5. Plant Milkweed
    The iconic monarch butterfly has declined by over 90 percent in just twenty years. One of the main causes of this decline is a lack of milkweed, the only host plant for Monarch larva/caterpillars. Without milkweed, monarchs can’t complete their lifecycle and populations plummet. By planting milkweed in your own yard, garden or neighborhood, you’ll not only attract these beautiful butterflies, you’ll be providing crucial habitat that will allow their caterpillars to survive.   SkyLyfeADK provides hundreds of self-collected and packaged common milkweed seeds every year.
  6. Adopt a Monarch
    When you adopt a monarch butterfly you directly support SkyLyfeADK’s work to save this declining pollinator. We’ll put your adoption purchase to use immediately to support our work to protect and restore monarchs and other vulnerable wildlife.  Adopt a monarch today. You can Adopt a Monarch through 1 of our 2 Adoption programs listed on our website.  Please feel free to inquire about this process through email.
  7. Protect Grasslands
    America’s native grasslands are critically important for pollinators such as bees and monarch butterflies. Our grasslands are filled with native plants that offer nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and a wide variety of pollinators.  Today, more than 90 percent of native grasslands have been converted to cropland and development. Grasslands are disappearing faster than any other ecosystem in North America and deserve our attention.  
  8. Support Pollinator Conservation Organizations
    SkyLyfeADK partners with the National Wildlife Foundaction, Monarch Watch and state affiliates that are active partners in the Garden for Wildlife program, teaching people how to create habitat for bees, monarchs and other pollinators. They offer regional expertise and resources, offering native milkweed seeds, running monarch taggingand citizen scienceefforts and even working on legislative solutions. Joining these efforts is a great way to get involved on the local level.  
  9. Post a Yard Sign
    When you create a pollinator garden and certify it with National Wildlife Federation you become part of the exclusive group of people who can post a Certified Wildlife Habitat sign. The sign is a wonderful way of letting your friends and neighbors know about all the hard work you’ve done to make a difference for wildlife like pollinators. Posting the sign is also a grassroots way of spreading the message that each of us can make a difference by creating a pollinator-friendly garden or landscape and inspiring others to follow your example. 
  10. Spread the Word on Social Media
    You can amplify our call to action by spreading the message about the plight of bees, monarch butterflies and other declining pollinators on social media. Participate in one of  SkyLyfeADK’s educational pollinator programs.  To book or participate in one of our programs, please contact us for a list of our Summer programs and locations.

Together we can make a difference in restoring pollinator populations!

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Jackie Woodcock was born and lives in the Adirondack Mountains. She is an apiarist, lepidopterist, conservationist, teacher, writer, artist, and a co-owner of SkyLyfeADK. You can find her SkyLyfeADK on Instagram and Facebook.




6 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Thanks Jackie for raising awareness of the plight of natural areas that don’t include timber. It is difficult to regulate grasslands and open spaces when targeted burning is now problematic. It is very easy to sow natural wildflower and native grasses any time s building is razed or land is reclaimed. All too often monospecific turf grasses are planted and then need to be mowed frequently which is anathema to natural settings and wildlife such as the Upland Sandpiper that are in serious decline. If you are or know a gentleman/gentlewoman farmer who hates to bale hay, why not repurpose those fields? There are up front costs associated with tilling and replanting wild plants, but they are much more interesting and less maintenance than a hayfield. There are more spiritual ways to profit than selling a few bales of hay!

  2. Charlie S says:

    “Using insecticides will kill these insects. Herbicides will kill important native plants such as milkweed that pollinators rely upon as a food source and a place to raise young.”

    Try telling this to a sheep, you know….one who goes along with the flow! Unfortunately there’s too many sheep they far outnumber owls, you know…. one who is wise. Some of us appreciate the efforts as above but too many just don’t get it and never will! We can ‘amplify’ whatever to try to grab others to act to help save the bees and butterflies and all of the other species we’re losing, but I am not overly optimistic that it will have an effect Jackie. Maybe I need to get away from the crowds, to rid myself of this stinking thinking. But then I get to thinking….it doesn’t matter where I am – we are who we are and if the ship starts sinking in one place it’s going to sink everywhere as we are one…one race, one planet, one home….the only home we’ll ever have.

    Proof of this (it doesn’t matter where I am) is the places where I have been far away from the crowds. The northeast Kingdom of Vermont per instance. I’ve been to places up there where there’s more cows than there are people by far, more flowers than there are blades of grass, fields of them far as the eye can see….and no butterflies, or hardly any. And I sure as heck don’t see the bees I used to see no matter where I go. Us human beings are poison we’re our own worst enemies.

    • Boreas says:

      Charlie,

      I have those same negative thoughts on mankind quite often. I saw two painted turtles run down this week before I could get to them, but I was able to save another from the same fate. The only thing that seems to bring me out of that negative mindset is to do something positive – regardless of how useless it may be in the long run.

      Luckily I have a lot that is big enough to plant a pollinator “garden”. I also scatter wildflower and milkweed plants and seeds I purchase around my property where they have a chance of growing (then the deer come in and eat many of them!). Are my actions going to cure the problem? No. But I can at least attract many species to my property and enjoy watching them, knowing I may have played a small part in their sharing the space with me for a few years. It makes me feel a little better. I don’t want to spend the limited time I have left on this planet fretting and feeling negative – and I continue to take my “happy” pills daily. I could do without the deer, though…

  3. LakeView says:

    Two destroyers of grasslands and bird/ insect habitats seem to be ignored, unrecognized and unwritten about by environmentalists although the destruction is in plain sight every summer. One is highway crews use of monster brush mowers with big arms that reach way out from the roadside mowing everything flat as far as the arms will reach- hedgerows, small trees, bushes and native plants, nesting birds. I have seen whole nesting colonies of red wing blackbirds mowed down by this irresponsible practice by state and local government road crews. Roadside hedgerows have always been a habitat for insects, native plants and birds until this monster mowing started. No doubt this is standard practice from orders coming from upper management. It is unnecessary, wastes huge amounts of taxpayers money on extra hours of manpower, fuel and equipment. Why not just mow the first few feet of roadside on non interstate roads like they do in Vermont.

    The other distressing thing I see all around me is the continual subdivision and conversion of old farmland to mini country estates. Old hay fields, hedge rows and pastures are mowed flat to give the appearance of mini golf courses. The owners are seemingly out there day and night on riding lawn mowers as if hypnotized by the noise. They remove habitat, scare wildlife away with the noise and apply unnecessary pesticides and herbicides.

    I myself have spent over 30 years preserving the habitat of our old farm, restoring wetlands and hedgerows to attract and shelter wildlife. The owners of the mini golf course-estates, though undeservingly, benefit from the unspoiled views my land gives them.

    • Boreas says:

      Lakeview,

      Those indiscriminate mowing arms also contribute to spreading of disease and invasives by instantly rendering any vegetation it shreds as terribly stressed with open wounds, and transferring pathogens from previous vegetation at the same time. If the mangled vegetation survives at all, it is in a weakened state, allowing invasives and disease a strong foothold. I cringe every time I see them at work – all in the interest of public safety?

  4. Charlie S says:

    “highway crews use of monster brush mowers with big arms that reach way out from the roadside mowing everything flat as far as the arms will reach…”

    > It used to be they employed workers to do the mowing, trimming, etc., along our roadsides. They got paid by the hour and the work was done the old-fashioned way with a simple lawn mower, a weed whacker, snips, shears, trimmers, whatever! Now it’s about getting it done in the least amount of time as possible and with as few workers as possible….a la – monster brush mowers. It’s the most horrible way of doing business. No more clean cuts of limbs or trees on the sides of our roads anymore, they shred them up instead so that you see the inside white meat of the bark of trees as long, torn splinters where they were whacked with those big blades.

    I never thought about nesting birds or wildlife Lakeview! Or maybe I forgot as subconsciously I think I block things out so as to be less bothered, powerless that I am over our crimes against nature. This only makes sense. Have you ever contacted the state on this matter? Maybe if people started raising Cain about it the State can be swayed. I think I’ll send them a note.

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