Protecting the Pollinators: What You Can Do – PART 2

 In coffee beans, pollinator bees, Shade Grown Coffee

Helping pollinators thrive

A few days ago, I wrote about the incredible role pollinators play in the food cycle. (PART 1) And I shared the pioneering policy work being done here in New England to protect pollinators — a list of wildlife that includes bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, even bats.

I’m learning that there are things almost anyone can do to protect pollinators, right in your own backyard. Here, from Great Barrington’s Pollinator Action Plan, are listed simple ways to encourage pollinators.

What does a pollinator garden involve? Again, astonishingly easy. Such a garden only requires a few square feet of space and the inclusion of some very basic native plants, including heirloom sunflowers.

A homeowner can have a very real impact on the health of our local pollinators by simply ………… mowing their lawn less often, planting some clover, and leaving some of their dandelions growing peacefully.

Something as simple as mowing the lawn less often can help pollinators

“Not mowing your lawn below three inches means less mowing, less pollution, and it’s better for the grass anyway,” said Vivian Orlowski, chair of the Agricultural Commission and a major force behind the pollinator plan. “And if you have meadows, consider letting them grow. If you want to avoid ticks, mow a wide path through the meadow.”

My town also recommends creating “pollinator corridors” where bees, butterflies, and pollinating birds and insects, can travel freely to do the job they do naturally. These can be planters on commercial streets, sections of existing parks.

When I plant my spring garden, I’ll be thinking about the plants that attract pollinators. And when I drink a great cup of coffee, I’ll be thinking about the bees who made the beans thrive in the shaded habitat of their farm.

Pollinator Facts:

  • The world as we know it would not exist if there were no bees to pollinate the Earth’s 250,000 known flowering plants. In fact, if not for bees, all flowers would be green.
  • Of the 4,000 native bee species in the US, 386 live in Massachusetts.
  • Native bees – not honey bees – are responsible for the vast majority of pollination. Honeybees want nectar; native bees are pollen collectors, which they take back to their nests.
  • The typical native bee range is 200 to 500 feet.
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