During National Pollinator Week, June 17-23, there are a variety of opportunities to learn about pollinators and the work to improve pollinator habitat. It’s a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect these “partners in crop production.”
Twelve years ago the U.S. government designated a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” as a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. This week has now grown into an international recognition of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. In the U.S., pollinators help farmers and landowners produce $20 billion worth of crops and other products annually.
Events in Iowa
Pheasants Forever is partnering with Iowa State University Extension and the ISU Extension Buchanan County office in northeast Iowa to offer field days and other educational events in at least eight counties. Participants will have the chance to walk through fields of native wildflowers and grasses, hear from experts about best management practices, and learn about the importance of pollinators, from bees to monarchs.
Also, a pollinator information and education event will be held June 22 at Reiman Gardens on the ISU campus in Ames. Admission is free, and all ages are welcome for hands-on activities, says Dana Schweitzer, program coordinator for ISU Extension.
“Landowners learning about habitat projects are often surprised by the amount of assistance available to them,” says Allie Rath, wildlife biologist with Pheasants Forever. “No matter which county you reside in, there is a resource professional who can provide technical assistance with your specific habitat project, and often there are also conservation programs to provide financial assistance.”
In addition to ISU Extension, speakers will include experts from Pheasants Forever, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Tallgrass Prairie Center. Field day partners also include USDA, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
Seth Appelgate, ISU research agronomist, will speak at the field day June 17 in Allamakee County. Roxanne Fuller, executive director of ISU Extension in Buchanan County, and Ashley Sherrets, ag and horticulture program coordinator for ISU Extension in Buchanan County, will speak at the Buchanan County Field Day June 20.
Learn what you can do
There is no preregistration for the field days, Schweitzer says. Participants should dress for the weather, and for walking in tall vegetation. Participants provide their own vehicle for transportation, capable of being driven on gravel roads. The field days follow:
June 17. Allamakee County Field Day, 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at 201 W. Main St., Waukon. Contact Allie Rath, email@example.com, or 319-330-6015.
June 18. Clayton County Field Day, 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at Central State Bank,102 N. Main St., Elkader. Contact Allie Rath, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 319-330-6015.
June 19. Butler County Field Day, 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at the field tour site 27497 180th St., Clarksville. Contact Dan Borchardt, email@example.com, or 641-430-3354.
June 19. Fayette County Field Day, 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the USDA Service Center conference room, 120 N. Industrial Parkway, West Union. Contact Allie Rath, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 319-330-6015.
June 20. Buchanan County Field Day, 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at Heartland Acres Agribition Center (theater room), 2600 Swan Lake Blvd., Independence. Contact Ashley Sherrets, email@example.com or 319-334-6641.
June 20. Chickasaw County Field Day, 2 to 4 p.m. Meet at field tour site 2136 Asherton Ave., Ionia. Contact Dan Borchardt, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 641-430-3354.
June 20. Floyd County Field Day, 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at field tour site 1920 Dogwood Ave., Rockford. Contact Dan Borchardt, email@example.com, or 641-430-3354.
June 21. Mitchell County Field Day, 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at field tour site 2251 Mitchell Line St., Orchard. Contact Dan Borchardt, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 641-430-3354.
June 22. Pollinator Fest at Reiman Gardens, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1407 University Blvd., Ames. Admission is free, all ages welcome for hands-on activities.
Another resource to help educate people on how to protect pollinators is the BASF Monarch Challenge. There’s still a lot to do, says Chip Shilling, BASF sustainability strategy manager, who explains steps we can all take to support pollinators by creating successful pollinator habitat. He encourages you to restore pollinator friendly practices on your farm. Study the habitat on your land, and look for areas that can support pollinators and other wildlife. Also, learn how to reduce direct exposure of pollinators to pesticides, and how to protect critical nesting sites and food sources for beneficial in