Look closely at the photo above. See the white specks all over the bee? That is pollen, and this little bee is hard at work perpetuating our fragile ecosystem.
Over the last couple of years, we have all heard the cry to save the bees. This year, we had “No mow May” to encourage people to leave the spring debris and plants alone to allow early season pollinators to forage and create habitats.
What does all this have to do with me, and why should I care?
Because we can’t live without them! Pollination puts food on your table. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, almost 80% of the world’s food and plant-based products require pollination.
- Over 150 food crops in the U.S. depend on pollinators, including almost all fruit and grain crops.
- More than half of the world’s diet of fats and oils comes from animal-pollinated plants (oil palm, canola, sunflowers, etc.).
- The USDA estimated that crops dependent on pollination are worth more than $10 billion per year.
In Ohio, there is a non-profit, the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative that is partnering with other non-profit agencies and businesses to improve and establish pollinator habitats and raise awareness of the importance of pollinators. Their grassroots efforts include roadside habitat creation, and habitat restoration at Deer Creek Park, including education and research. You may see this sign along the roadside.
But there is more to be done. That is where the home gardener comes in. Here are some simple ways to encourage pollination in your garden.
- Plant native plants
- Create diversity in the garden by providing different plants and varying bloom times
- Plant trees to encourage shelter
- Plant companion plants
Our mission here at Compass Media is “to be a leader in Fitness, Health, and Recreation information that educates and inspires readers through print, web, mobile, social media and trade shows in Ohio and beyond.”
These are not just lofty words. We believe in honoring this great planet and doing our small part in encouraging sustainability in our actions and highlighting others who are putting forth the effort to have a positive impact through their actions and their words.
What are you doing to help the pollinators? Go to our Facebook page, share a picture and tell us about the difference you are making or plan to make in the future. We would love to continue this conversation.
Photo courtesy of author Trish Mann