Earth Day Effort Focuses on Saving Species

There's one you can help save with very little effort - plant a pollinator garden!

Today is Earth Day 2019, the 49th anniversary of the internationally recognized day that's considered the start of the modern environmental movement.

This year's Earth Day theme is protecting the earth's species.

You may feel like there's not a lot you can do as an individual to save rain forests, stop pollution, or reverse climate change but there is something you can do to save a species that's being threatened with extinction.

40% of pollinator species - particularly bees and butterflies - are at risk of extinction.

That species is bees. That's right, bees, and other so-called "pollinators" who spread pollen from plant to plant, fertilizing them. Basically, without pollinators, we'd have no food.

You can help pollinators thrive by planting what's called a pollinator garden, full of bee-friendly plants. And a group called the National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN) can help. The NPGN was formed in 2015 with a goal to "inspire individuals and community groups, institutions and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat" and provide them with the tools to do it.

Pollinators are responsible for one out of three bites of food we take each day

The NPGN created a "Million Pollinator Garden Challenge" with a goal to create a million pollinator gardens, a mark they reached last year when they hit 1,040,000 registered gardens, planted by 8 million people, creating 5 million acres of pollinator habitat. These habitats range from small container gardens and window boxes, to bigger gardens at places like zoos, schools, and parks, to huge gardens at farms and wildlife preserves.

"Anyone can plant for pollinators. Habitat of every size counts." Mary Phillips, National Wildlife Federation

If you'd like to help save the bees and our food production systems the National Pollinator Garden Network wants you to #beecounted by creating a pollinator friendly garden that will help them get to their next million gardens. Click here to go to their website, or here to go to their Facebook page to find out how.

Pollinator habitat is declining by a million acres a year

Pollination 411

(source: National Pollinator Garden Network )

  • Pollination is : the transfer of pollen between the male and female parts of flowers for fertilization and reproduction, allowing plants to make seeds and reproduce.
  • Pollinators are : Bees, wasps, butterflies, and many species of flies and beetles, hummingbirds and even some bats. They feed on the nectar and pollen in flowers and spread the pollen from plant to plant, fertilizing them.
  • Pollinators need :flowering plants, trees, or shrubs that offer high-energy nectar and pollen.
  • Why pollinators are important : without pollinators, both the wild food web and our agricultural system would collapse.
  • Why pollinators are in trouble : pesticide exposure, disease, habitat loss, pests, climate change.
  • Pollinator-friendly plants : flowering plants, trees and shrubs that offer nutrient-rich nectar and pollen. Native plants are important for pollinators that are native to your area.

(All images: National Pollinator Garden Network Facebook page )

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