Promoting Pollinators

When it comes down to it, it’s really the little things. . . . We are reminded of that during springtime in Kentucky.

The grass is turning green (and blue). Trees are in bloom and wildflowers have begun to flirt with weekend hikers. It won’t be long before our dinner tables become a lot more interesting with the arrival of lettuce and spinach, then peas and asparagus, and finally corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and everything else!

Vegetables (Noclveglia-Creative Commons)
©Noclveglia (Creative Commons)

It is amazing to think that such bounty comes to us thanks to some of nature’s smallest creatures. In fact, pollinators—bees, butterflies, moths and wasps—are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food eaten each day.

Unfortunately, pollinators are declining worldwide and especially in the U.S. This is happening for two primary reasons:

  1. Pesticides used to protect agricultural crops harm insects and birds.
  2. Pollinators are rapidly losing critical habitat.
Bumblebee on Milkweed (John Flannery-Creative Commons)
© John Flannery (CC)

That is where The Nature Conservancy comes in. Around Kentucky, we are working with partners at the federal, state and local levels to protect and restore habitat that will invite pollinators to rebound and thrive.

For example, mimicking a historic disturbance with controlled burns in select areas clears the way for the type of prairie and grassland habitat that is ideal for pollinators.

Controlled Burn at Dupree Nature Preserve
©TNC

Thanks to support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Conservancy has also planted native wildflowers, including some species of milkweed upon which monarch butterflies depend, at our Dupree, Davis Bend and 100-acre Pond nature preserves.

The Conservancy is also working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service on a campaign to promote pollinator habitat on private lands. Really, anywhere native prairie wildflowers can be established and allowed to thrive can be ideal for pollinators. Even an area as small as your own backyard can make a difference!

© Oliver Starks
© Oliver Starks

Support our efforts to protect pollinators. Donate to our habitat restoration efforts today. We also welcome you to join us for a volunteer workday or a hike held at our nature preserves throughout the year. See you outside!