Don’t you just LOVE zinnias? I do. They are a burst of long lasting color all through the summer and fall. They are one of the ONLY plants that doesn’t succumb to our horrid heat here in Oklahoma AND they are tolerant of our drought like conditions that are all too common here.
Tag Archive for pollinators
We need pollinators to survive. There are over 100 crops that could not produce without being pollinated by wildlife. Our pollinators are rapidly declining and we have to stand up and take notice. Without food, we will not survive.
There are many types of pollinators. Most of the time when we think of the word, we think of bees, and bees are in trouble, but there are many other species including birds, butterflies, wasps, and flies that do much of the pollinating work as well.
One out of every three bites of food consumed in America comes from a plant visited by a pollinator. These crops include:
- Stone fruits
So what should we do about it? What would it take to help our local wildlife thrive and increase in numbers? What do they need to survive?
- A safe place to raise young
Even if you live on a small lot, your actions can make a difference to someone other than yourself. Wildlife is not just deer, rabbits, squirrels and other animals. There are a plethora of beneficial insects and life forms that you may never notice that play a critical role in our own survival.
Every time another plot of land is cleared to build on, many habitats are destroyed. This is slowly making populations decline. Populations that WE need! There are many invasive species of imported plants crowding out the native species as well. Then on top of that, we are pouring chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides on our land in epic proportions. This is destroying the beneficial creatures along with the pests and it’s destroying even more habitats our beneficials need to survive. Add it all together and we have a big problem on our hands.
Exposure and education are key. Spend some time learning about something you could do to help. Learn about the life cycles of the beneficial creatures in your area. Call your county extension office to get information or do some research online. We can all learn more and do more to help!
Last year at Little Sprouts, we purchased a monarch waystation kit to plant native species that would attract and feed endangered monarchs. This year we decided to get certified as a monarch waystation. Click here to purchase your own monarch waystation kit or to see how to get certified yourself.
This year we signed up to be butterfly heroes. Click here to see what the program included. We got free milkweed seeds for participating in the program. We are excited to think about helping Monarchs have a place to rest, fuel up, and feed their young. We LOVE pollinators, especially Monarchs!
We want to take the Million Pollinator Challenge to help all kinds of pollinators survive. Click here to check it out.
We took it a step further and got certified by the National Wildlife Federation to be a Certified Wildlife Habitat by providing a pollinator and wildlife friendly habitat. In order to get certified, you have to plant native species that help pollinators, as well as provide a chemical free breeding and feeding area for species to live.
Pollinators need a water source, shelter, food, and safe places to lay their eggs.
We have enjoyed so many kids of wildlife in our garden, it’s amazing to see the variety of animals and insects we have gotten to learn about. We even see deer around our garden, luckily none have been feeding there yet. I know they can decimate a garden in no time. We plant a lot of lavender in our garden to repel them from coming inside the fence.
We are so excited to be part of the change the world needs to see in protecting our native pollinators from further decline. We urge you to make your yard into a wildlife habitat that can protect and nurture many different types of nature. It’s amazing to see so many beautiful creatures thriving in your yard. Let’s protect our pollinators so they will continue to help feed us by pollinating our food sources.
Butterflies, bees, flies…pollinators! We have to have them to live. Without pollinators, our food doesn’t grow. Without food, we all die. Did you know butterflies are GREAT pollinators? Did you know butterfly populations are on the decline? Did you know the Monarch butterfly population is down by more than 90 percent? Ninety percent folks, this is alarming! Monarchs are one of the most interesting creatures in nature because of their great migration each year. Monarchs are also seen as a barometer to measure our ecological health as well as populations of all types of pollinators. Click here to see more about Monarch butterflies. Monarchs are amazing. They are unique because of their 3000 mile migration, but not all monarchs make the migration. During the warm season, monarchs complete their lifecycle in their summer habitat, but in the fall, the last group of monarchs who are mature, have a natural instinct to fly south to Mexico for the winter. When spring comes, they naturally migrate back and start reproducing again. They are the only butterflies that do this. Other species winter over in place. Why are butterflies are on the decline? Agricultural practices such as the use of pesticides are destroying butterfly habitats and food sources. The summer habitat of monarch butterflies is one third what it used to be due to growing and logging habits in the United States. Since most of the milkweed in this country is located near or on agricultural land, the use of herbicides on milkweed is significantly reducing its availability. Deforestation is removing safe places for butterflies and other creatures to hibernate and reproduce. Logging industries are stripping the land of trees at an alarming rate. Butterflies are incredibly sensitive to pesticides. It doesn’t take a large amount of pesticides to kill thousands of pollinators.
Roadside mowing is also contributing to the decline of available food sources for butterflies. If we cut down all the wildflowers, milkweed, and nesting places, nature has no protection and no food. How can creatures thrive without untouched land? Click here to read more about what a biologist who has studied monarchs for decades has to say about the decline of the monarchs and see just how severe the problem is becoming. Butterflies need a place to rest, feed, and reproduce.
Monarchs make their homes in the United States as well as Canada and Mexico. The forests they use to overwinter in Mexico are being thinned systematically. It is the only shelter from temperatures and rain the butterflies have. The natural instinct to migrate is an amazing and wonderful journey that is unbelievable to me. My heart cries out for humans on the earth to protect that journey. What can we do to help? All butterflies need a host plant for their caterpillars to eat as well as flowers with nectar for adults to dine on. Monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed plants. We NEED more milkweed and nectar plants if these species have a chance of surviving. Click here to see what other butterflies and caterpillars feed on and to learn how to attract butterflies to your garden or yard. We can all plant milkweed in our yards as well as wildflowers. In addition, we can plead with our local officials to stop cutting down the wildflowers on our highways and byways and instead manage them FOR the wildlife. There is a ton of land available there that can be tended with wildflowers instead of mowed. I have seen evidence of this some places already, but we can encourage more of it. Here is the milkweed we are growing. This spring, the National Wildlife Foundation put on a campaign to help the monarchs by asking kids and adults alike to be butterfly “heroes” Click here to see the program. Thankfully, due to an overwhelming response to this call to action, the program is fully drained of supplies, but that’s great news for the monarchs. Thousands of families across the nation are growing food for them. What a wonderful thing! When we received our packet, it contained a nature journal, a packet of milkweed seeds, and information on how to use it.
The packet also included educational information about monarchs and a poster and sticker. Here’s our butterfly hero pose.
There are many varieties of milkweed available. You will find the most success if you plant species of milkweed that are native to your area that will thrive in your climate. You can also get a Monarch waystation kit that has everything your butterflies will need to thrive at your rest area along their migration path. We purchased this kit last year and have been working to get some seeds to germinate in our butterfly sanctuary. Click here to order your own Monarch waystation.
At Little Sprouts, we LOVE being butterfly heroes. I want to teach my kids to take care of the earth in any way I can. We recycle, compost, and try to grow native wildflowers in and around our garden to help provide food sources for many beneficial creatures that are on the decline, including butterflies of all kinds as well as bees that our future depends on. It takes every person doing their part if we are going to change the damage we are doing to this earth. You may or may not care about butterflies like we do, but I’m sure you care about your future food sources. No pollinators means no food production, and we all need to be concerned about food for future generations. Here is our butterfly row in our garden. the first bed has fennel, the second dill, the next one wildflowers that are just beginning to sprout, and the last one is where the milkweed pictured above is growing.
What have you done or are you thinking of doing to provide a helping hand to nature? Let’s get out there and change the future of the world TOGETHER! Yippee!