Celebrate National Pollinator Week Posted on June 24, 2016 by wpengine Share this post Did you know that June 20 – 26 is National Pollinator Week? In celebration, we’d like to share some neat facts with you and tips about how you can help support the health of pollinators. To start, here are a few fast facts that illustrate the importance of pollinators: Pollinators are a Keystone Species – meaning that many other species of animals and plants rely on them to survive. They are also an Indicator Species – meaning that their health and survival reflects the health of their ecosystem. Approximately 75% of all flowering plants need the help of animals and insects to move pollen between plants for fertilization. Around 1,000 species of plants that humans consume in food and drinks rely on pollinators. This is a small sampling of common foods that rely on pollinators. Photo: nohoneymoproblems.files.wordpress.com There are some types of plants that depend on a single pollinator for pollination such as the fig tree – it relies on the fig wasp for pollination. Without the fig wasp, we would no longer have figs. Pollinators also support the reproduction of other very important non-edible plants so that they can do important things such as reduce erosion which supports watershed health, shade our cities, and clean the air. Pollinators are amazing, beautiful, and critical. Without them, our food supply, ecosystems, and even economy would suffer. Many pollinators are on the decline; some are extinct, some are endangered, and many are threatened. Threats to pollinators include pollution such as pesticide use, habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and climate change. It’s relatively easy to create pollinator habitat, even in urban and ultra urban environments. Photo: kimsmithdesigns.files.wordpress.com Given the importance of pollinators and threats that they face, Pollinator Week is a great time to learn about what we can each do to support pollinators. Below is a list of ways to get involved and learn more. Visit Burgh’s Bees during their monthly Open Apiary Days. You’ll learn about their pollinator garden and get to visit their community apiary – the only one of its kind in the country. Attend one of the Penn State Master Gardener educational opportunities such as Meet the Monarchs! on July 13. Become an Urban Ecosteward. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about invasive plants, propagating native plants from seeds, and much more. You’ll also be assigned (or co-assigned) an area to steward where you’ll apply your new knowledge and acquire more. Work to make your garden pollinator-friendly and get it certified through Penn State. Actions include planting native perennials and trees that bloom throughout the seasons, reducing or eliminating chemical use, and providing shelter and water. Learn more about this program and other resources here. Use native plants where possible and source them from places you trust. Some options include Garden Dreams, the Audubon Center for Native Plants at Beechwood Farms, and the Penn State Master Garden plant sales (held each year in April & May). Using native plants that have been grown without the use of pesticides is one way to support the health of pollinators. Photo: hillhousenativeplants.com Learn about Integrated Pest Management and pollinator conservation. Do you have any suggestions or local resources that we missed? We’d love to hear them!