Today brings us into the home stretch of pollinator week. I trust that you have been outside all week, feverishly pollinating plants by hand. Hard work, isn’t it? It’s a lot easier when we let nature’s other creatures do that work, but we need to have enough of those creatures to pollinate the plants. Otherwise, there could be problems.
Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. 1 out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators, and pollinators add 217 billion dollars to the global economy. As if that wasn’t enough, they also support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife. So, a problem for pollinators can easily become a problem for us.
The designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” was a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Some of the ways you can help are to utilize plants that support pollinators, support local beekeepers, practice conservation and be a responsible steward of the environment.
“What are these pollinators?” you say? Thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation, we have a beautiful collection of photographs of some.
If this has made you curious about the difference between moths and butterflies, as it did me, learn more here.
In addition to those photogenic creatures, bats, flies, beetles, wasps and small mammals also play an important role as pollinators.
If you’d like to see some of these photos up close, we currently have a display up at the Columbia Public Library on the first floor. To learn more about pollinators, check out this list of library resources. I would like to especially recommend the movie, “The Pollinators.” I also recommend visiting pollinator.org, the Missouri Department of Conservation and MU Extension.
Although Pollinator Week is almost over, pollinators will need our support all year round. They are critical to our ecosystem — we need them to thrive so we can thrive.