Did you know the governor signed a proclamation a few years ago to recognize National Pollinator Week annually in Texas? This year, it is June 17-24.
It took a lot of work by many organizations, especially Texas Parks and Wildlife, but it was well worth it.
So what does this mean for our state? It basically includes Texas in an international “celebration” of pollinators that get very little recognition, yet do so much for the world. These invaluable creatures include bees, bats, butterflies, birds and beetles. Say that fast three times.
It is estimated that almost one-third of the food we eat is due to the work of pollinators, not to mention their impact on the reproduction of plants such as shrubs, flowers, vegetables, fruits and nuts, which provide food for domesticated animals, livestock and wildlife.
The work of pollinators is a multibillion-dollar business annually in the U.S. Because of their importance and the steady decline of many species of pollinators, new efforts are being made to study and pinpoint the reasons for pollinator decline.
So far, loss of habitat, use of pesticides and the introduction of non-native species are all contributing factors to the smaller populations and the huge losses incurred as a direct result of their waning numbers.
So what does all of this mean for you and me? It means we can each get as involved as we are willing in Pollinator Week.
Go to http://www.pollinator.org or Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization, to learn more about pollinators; find local groups who support and participate in Pollinator Week activities, such as National Moth Week and the annual “butterfly count”; create homes and habitats that encourage pollinators to visit our yards; incorporate organic lawn and landscape practices that won’t harm pollinators; and teach children about the importance of pollinators.
Those of us from past generations never dreamed there would be a serious shortage of these vital pollinators, but now we are tasked with encouraging the younger generations to become aware of this dire situation and be pro-active to protect them.
Food for the future depends on it.
Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at email@example.com.