This year, in the early days of spring, I was greeted by the delightful sight of bumblebees bouncing from dandelion to dandelion all the way up to the flowers on the fruit trees in my yard. After April showers brought my wildflowers to bloom, I was puzzled by the sudden disappearance of the bees, butterflies, and even the wasps that called my wild yard home. After learning that many of my nearest neighbors use the same pest control service, I realized that it was going to take more than a yard full of flowers to protect our local pollinators.
Established by Pollinator Partnership, Pollinator Week (June 20 – 26) is held the third week of June to celebrate pollinators and their impact on our ecosystem. During this week, people and organizations all over the country and the world spread awareness of the importance of protecting commonly and uncommonly known pollinators.
Here are seven ways you and your children can celebrate Pollinator Week
1. Sign Up for the Pollinator Power Party
The Pollinator Partnership co-hosts an annual Pollinator Power Party throughout Pollinator Week. According to their website:
“In 2021, the Pollinator Power Party reached more than 2.3 million people, including farmers, students, teachers, master gardeners, conservationists, artists and designers, utility companies, scientific researchers, and more. Now in its third year, the party continues to grow with a bigger line-up of speakers, conservation and education partners, and exciting in-person and virtual opportunities to support our planet’s pollinators. The week-long event will include keynote speakers, a honey tasting session, scientific lectures, a pollinator art contest, and habitat management success stories.”
You can register for the party here.
2. Take Pictures for Bumblebee Watch
With the help of amateur and professional nature photographers throughout North America, Bumblebee Watch works to track and conserve bumblebee populations. Participation in Bumblebee Watch is as simple as pulling out your phone or camera and searching your yard, local gardens, and parks to snap pictures of bumblebees. You then upload your pictures to their website along with species identification. There they will be verified by bumblebee experts.
3. Raise Butterflies
While bees are the most well-known insect pollinator, butterflies also do their part in cross-pollination. Where bees stay close to their hives, butterflies carry pollen further distances on their long, thin legs. Unfortunately, just like bees, butterfly populations are disappearing due to excessive use of pesticides and changing habitats. You can help conserve butterfly populations by raising butterflies and releasing them into your garden or other areas native to the butterfly.
4. Make Sugar Water for Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds, particularly the ruby-throated hummingbird, migrate to South Carolina for spring and summer beginning in March. While they are here, you can supplement their diet of native flower nectar with a simple sugar water solution. These avian pollinators will especially appreciate it when there are few blooming flowers nearby. However, for the safety of the hummingbirds, avoid using red dyes, fruit juices, brown sugar, honey, molasses, and artificial sweeteners in your mixtures as these can be deadly.
With school being out and summer reading programs in full swing, take the opportunity to incorporate a few books featuring pollinators into your storytime. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Animal Pollinators by Jennifer Boothroyd
- Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara Levine
- Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton
- If Bees Disappeared by Lily Williams
- Insect Pollinators by Jennifer Boothroyd
6. Create Pollinator Week Crafts
Loss of habitat and increasing temperatures are among the many problems facing pollinators. Building an insect hotel or a wildlife cooling station can go a long way toward helping our local pollinators thrive. But before you head to a home improvement or craft store, look around your house to see what you and your children can recycle into building materials for a more sustainable crafting experience.
7. Have Pollinator Movie Night
Raising awareness about protecting pollinators can be as easy as kicking up your feet and having a pollinator movie night. For movie snacks, try to incorporate foods that are dependent on pollinators to reproduce, like apples or bananas. Here are a few movies and documentaries that feature pollinators, some of which can be checked out or streamed with a Richland Library card:
- Bee Movie
- The Pollinators
- Pollinators Under Pressure
- Wings of Life
- Zoology: Understanding the Animal World (Episode 6, Bees, Butterflies, and Saving Biodiversity)
Pollinators play a crucial role not only in our gardens or food supply but in all ecosystems. Pollinator Week can be a fun way to learn and bring awareness to the importance of protecting these vital creatures.
How will you celebrate Pollinator Week?