Bees, and butterflies, and hummingbirds- oh my! It’s National Pollinator Week and what better way to celebrate than to learn about some of our most important pollinators with some great workshopsopens a new window at the Toronto Public Library! But before we get there, there may be some things you want to know first- what are pollinators and why are they so important that they get a whole week of celebrations?
Pollinators are animals that help spread pollen, the powdery substance found in flowers, between flowers. When they visit a flower to eat sweet nectar or collect nutritious pollen, they move the pollen stuck on their bodies from one flower to another. This transfer of pollen fertilizes the flower, allowing the plant to make seeds and grow more plants! Bees, butterflies, beetles, flies, hummingbirds, and even bats help over 80% of all flowering plants reproduce through pollination. These plants help hold the earth’s soil in place, clean our waters and our air, and provide the world with food. Some sources even say that bees alone pollinate ⅓ of all the food we eat! The world would be very different without these important animals to shape the ecosystems that we live in.
Pollinator Week also helps to bring awareness to the threats that pollinators face. Many populations are in decline because of loss of spaces for pollinators to call home. Big developments, pollution and harmful pesticides are threatening continued healthy habitat for these animals, causing some species to become endangered or extinct within their range. It’s not all bad, though. There are a few very important things that we can do to help:
- Plants some flowers! Flowers that are native to the area will help out the most. Milkweed is especially important for monarch butterflies for food, but it's also the only plant that females will lay their eggs on!
- Leave them some space! Try to maintain some natural areas in yards, parks, and neighbourhoods for pollinator habitat. Native bees, in particular, rely on old stumps, bare ground and undisturbed area for their nests.
- Educate yourself! Learn as much as you can to help save the pollinators. Did you know flies are the only insects that can pollinate cocoa to make chocolate?
This year, Pollinator Week will run from June 18 - June 24, with celebrations across the country to promote pollinator health, conservation and protection. As part of the series Our Fragile Planet, the Albion Branch will be celebrating this week with some upcoming workshops hosted by yours truly. Come check them out!
Looking to brush up on your pollinator knowledge before stopping by? Check out some of my favourite pollinators books!
Pollinating animals and insects
Happy Pollinator Week and don’t forget to thank a pollinator!
The Our Fragile Planet program series is generously supported by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.opens a new window