What is pollination and why should we care about this?? According to the Pollinator Partnership,
"Pollination is a vital stage in the life cycle of all flowering plants. When pollen is moved within a flower or carried from one flower to another of the same species it leads to fertilization. This transfer of pollen is necessary for healthy and productive native and agricultural ecosystems.
About 75% of all flowering plant species need the help of animals to move their heavy pollen grains from plant to plant for fertilization.Meet the pollinators:
About 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals.
Most pollinators ... are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees."
The most common avian pollinator is the hummingbird. There are 4000 species of native bees in the USA. (USDA NRCS)
We should care about pollinators each time we shop for food or sit down to eat! From the USDA National Resources Conservation Service:
"The produce section of grocery stores would be rather empty without the hard work of bees, birds, butterflies, bats and other pollinators. More than 80 percent of the world’s plants need pollinators to survive, including many that provide the food we eat.We learn from the Pollinator Partnership that
"Pollinators are often keystone species, meaning that they are critical to an ecosystem. The work of pollinators ensures full harvests of crops ...an estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators. In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually."
The Ecological Society of America states that:
"Pollinators play a significant role in the production of over 150 food crops in the U.S.—among them apples, almonds, blueberries, cranberries, kiwis, melons, pears, plums, and squash.
And from Business Insider:
"Native pollinators play a vital role in dairy production, fertilizing the clover seeds and alfalfa seeds that feed livestock. They are also involved in the production of oil stock like canola. “The absence of pollinators would not only take the most delicious things out of our diet, but also the most nutritionally significant parts as well...”
When you ask a blessing at your next meal, be sure to include the bees, the birds, the bats and the butterflies who pollinated the food!
And - check out the photos in the recent Friends of Hagerman Nature Photography Club album, Pollinators at HNWR.