The fascinating process of pollination, and the beautiful creatures who perform it, these are indeed wonderful things to celebrate. Pollinator Week 2016, June 20 – 26, comes at a good time for us to focus on something we can all appreciate, understand, and support. Certainly there is more to know, but what fun would it be if we knew it all? And there is certainly much more to be accomplished to prevent further losses of these critically important components of our ecosystem, but we have made progress. Here are some Virginia Native Plant Society, (VNPS), highlights since this time last year:
♦Habitat loss and fragmentation is one of the biggest problems pollinators face. The
VNPS raised $22, 504.33 to help the Department of Natural Heritage with acquisition of land for the Cedars Area Natural Preserve. This property was not only the site of many endemic and rare native plants, but also an important piece for providing connectivity between other parcels already under Natural Heritage protection.
♦The VNPS was asked to be on hand to help with plant location, planting, and helping answer questions from volunteers at a major installation by our Dept. of Transportation, (VDOT), at the northbound 95 rest stop at Dale City. This site, where 8,000 pollinator-friendly plants were put in was recently weeded by a professional contractor and by next year should be a rest stop for pollinators as well as people.
♦Our chapters have made many substantial contributions of plants, knowledge, and time to butterfly and pollinator gardens in their own community’s schools, libraries and public garden spaces.
♦The first Protect the Pollinator license plate in the U.S. of A., designed and brought single-handedly into being by a determined VNPS member, Samantha Gallagher, first went on sale last year, and starting this July, they will become Revenue-Sharing plates; contributing to pollinator habitats throughout the state in support VDOT’s new Pollinator Habitat Program.
A closing reminder from NatureServe:
Confronting the Plight of Pollinators
There are 200,000 pollinator species, but roughly 1,000 are vertebrates such as hummingbirds, bats and small mammals. All told, these pollinators sustain plant species all over the world, including many of our most essential food crops. One in three bites of food and roughly three-quarters of all flowering plants trace directly back to the work of a pollinating species of animal. “Most folks are aware of the role pollinators play in producing our food, but I think what people are less aware of is just how many native plants depend on the unique pollinators we have in this country,” says Anne Frances, NatureServe’s lead botanist.
And of course, those pollinators also need the native plants, in that endlessly intertwined set of relationships we call our natural world. A world to celebrate and to save.