- Editor’s Note: This article was written by Kane County Environmental & Water Resources Intern Claire Eaton, a sophomore at University of Illinois Springfield majoring.
Pollinator Week was first nationally recognized in the U.S. Senate in 2006. The event is designated as a time to recognize the essential work that pollinators do in our ecosystems and to draw attention to their declining populations.
This National Pollinator Week, learn what you can do here in Kane County to help this important element of our interconnected environment!
Pollen isn’t just an enemy to those with allergies. It’s an important ingredient in plant life that needs to be transferred between plants to promote health and enable them to reproduce.
So how does this pollen move between plants? For about 75 percent of flowering plants, the answer is pollinators.
The relationship between humans and pollinators is extremely important, and a part of our everyday lives. The many types of pollinators, ranging from bees to bats, are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food.
Pollinators also bring us beautiful natural landscapes, and are a key component in balancing our ecosystems. They help personal gardens as well as crops grow to their full potential.
In Kane County, horticulture is an important piece of agricultural economics. It has accounted for as much as 48 percent of total agricultural sales for the county.
These types of crops, such as pumpkins or flowers, are much more reliant on pollinators than their corn and soybean counterparts.
How Can You Help?
As is the case with many endangered species, pollinators are in danger due to a loss of habitat. While this is worrisome, that means you can help!
Planting natural habitat areas that are native to your area will attract pollinators, giving them areas to feed and nest.
Conserving natural resources and reducing your impact will also aide in keeping pollinator populations healthy. Choosing to avoid pesticides and insecticides in your yard and garden will help these important pollinators survive and have places to raise their young.
Buying fresh, local produce supports farmers and pollinators in your area. Adopting sustainable practices helps not only you, but the pollinators around you as well.
Consider joining citizen science projects, such as the Bee Spotter program to help learn more about the pollinator population in our area. Spread the word about the importance of pollinators and what practices help their populations thrive!
More information about National Pollinator Week 2019 is available at https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week.