Support a Native Pollinator Program
Who are our native pollinators and why do they matter:
Our native pollinators, very basically, are any and all members of our ecosystems (more specifically ecoregions) that move pollen from one part of a plant to another part of that plant and also to other plants to produce a flower then a fruit. All life on Earth needs pollination to continue. Native pollinators are the birds and the bees (also bats, beetles, butterflies, moths, small mammals, wind, rain…) and they actually need specific flowers and trees.
There are more than 20,000 species of native bees globally and over 4,000 in North America. Native Bees make ⅓ of every bite of food produced possible, and if we take the clover and animal grazing habits of current non sustainable food systems into account it is probably a much higher ratio. Native bees, not honey bees, actually account for about 80% of the world’s pollination. Not that I don’t love honey bees but they are a different group of Insecta and they are farmed for their pollination services. They are not selective in their nectar or pollen habits and can be aggressive to native pollinators. Native pollinators are specialized, solitary for the most part as less than 10% of them live in colonies,, and all are very dependent on the native plant life they have coevolved with. Heather Holm may “bee” one of my favorite people to gather native to North America bee and wasp information from.
When we want to support sustainable and further, net positive food systems we have to start at the pollinator level. Native plants=food for native pollinators=sustainable local food systems for humans.
Our native bees all over the planet are in jeopardy of extinction. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, more than half of North America’s 4,000 native bee species are in decline, with 1 in 4 species at risk of disappearing from the Earth.
Bumblebees in particular are at risk. In a study done by the International Union for Conservation of Nature it was determined that of the 47 native to North America bumblebees 28 are facing some level of “extinction risk” The Rusty Patched Bumblebee was listed as endangered in 2017. https://bumblebeespecialistgroup.org/about-the-bbsg/
Support our Plant it Further mission by participating in our support-a-native bee program. Purchase one of our locally printed sustainably sourced shirts or hats and you will also receive a picture of your native bee. Profits from this program go to making our mission of creating pollinator awareness educational support material free for everyone. It also allows us to continue to provide “free” seeds for school and community native pollinator gardens. We are a small scale local company that sells its art and homemade goods at local farmers markets. Like our native pollinators the supply is not endless. We are a grassroots community driven nonprofit and your support is greatly appreciated.