John Root: National Pollinator Week

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Published: 6/22/2022 9:23:51 AM
Modified: 6/22/2022 9:21:28 AM

In 2008, Pollinator Partnership designated June as National Pollinator month to help raise awareness about the plight of pollinators, and this year National Pollinator Week is June 20-26. Pollinator populations are at risk due to habitat loss and fragmentation, the prevalence of invasive and non-native plants, pesticide use, air and light pollution, and climate change. Pollinators are essential for many food crops and ensure seed production in 75% of all plant species. Insects are often treated as pests, but without them ecosystems would collapse. 

Visit www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week/toolkit for ideas about how you your family can participate in National Pollinator Month. If you’re a homeowner, please do not use pesticides or have your property sprayed for mosquitoes. Also, consider replacing as much of your lawn as you can with pollinator habitat by establishing native plants that will offer foliage for caterpillars as well as pollen and nectar for pollinators on the wing. 

Bees are the best pollinators because pollen easily sticks to their fuzzy bodies. Our 400+ species of native bees are attracted to different kinds of plants, so you’ll want to provide a variety of flower shapes, sizes, and colors that will bloom throughout the growing season. Trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ground covers, and grasses are all valuable host plants and sources of nectar and pollen. 

Check out the Tufts Pollinator Initiative (sites.tufts.edu/pollinators/planting-guides/) for information about how to make your land pollinator friendly. Local plant nurseries with good selections of native plants that can also offer helpful advice about creating pollinator habitat include That’s a Plenty Farm (Hadley), Gardeners Supply (Hadley), Nasami Farm (Whately), and Wing and a Prayer Nursery (Cummington).

Creating your own nature sanctuary will give you endless hours of enjoyment with the added bonus of significantly enhancing the value of your property. You’ll also have the chance to be generous with your extra plants and seeds by sharing them with friends and neighbors.

Pollinate Amherst is currently establishing pollinator gardens at Groff Park, Larch Hill Conservation Area, and Hitchcock Center for the Environment. Please “like” us on Facebook and let us know if you’re interested in volunteering at our workday events. We would also welcome your input in our town-wide campaign to protect and promote pollinators. Let’s make Amherst a pollinator paradise! 

John Root

Amherst


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