Wild bee on a leadplant prairie flower in Minnesota.
What is a pollinator?
A pollinator is a wildlife species that visits flowering plants to feed on their nectar, and in the process, transfer pollen from one blossom to another, pollinating the plant. Pollination fertilizes the plant, allowing them to form seeds to reproduce, as well as form the berries, fruits and nuts that feed both wildlife and people.
There are many different types of pollinators in North America, from fruit bats to beetles. Some Minnesota pollinators include the beautiful Monarch butterfly, bees (MN has about 400 native species of bees alone), birds and moths. All of which play a critical role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
Without these pollinators, fruit-bearing plants would not be able to create food for the critters in their ecosystem (that includes us!). This would cause a severe ecosystem disruption and hardships for both plant and animal life. Additionally, pollination is necessary in the production of almost 75% of our crops and nearly 90% of the world's flowering plant species.
What you can do
Thankfully, there are things we all can do to improve pollinator habitat!
Volunteering with FMR is an excellent way to engage with these ecosystems. A public volunteer outing only takes about two hours, and can include anything from planting pollinator-friendly patch gardens to removing harmful invasives.
If you want a project you can do in your backyard, consider planting native species when possible. Pollinators are drawn to patch-like gardens that serve as a much needed oasis for them, espically in urban and residental neighborhoods where resources can be scarce.
Already have a pollinator-friendly yard or garden? Great, consider logging your success story or monitoring monarchs and reporting you findings to the Monarch Joint Venture.
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