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Girl Scout Troop 447 “Exploring the Honey Bee” with Southwest Honey Co. at the Southwest Conservation Club under the science tent.
This week, we celebrate Pollinators! We celebrate the vital role that bees, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds, and other organisms play in pollinating essential crops and flowers in our ecosystem. Gov. Eric Holcomb had proclaimed June 19-25 as Pollinator Week in Indiana.

Pollinators are responsible for 35 percent of global crop production and this need for pollinators is only increasing as the human population grows and requires more food. Sadly, many pollinator populations are declining because of habitat loss, nutritional deficiency, parasites, pathogens, chemical exposure and extreme weather.

It is important for us to remember, as humans, that we share this planet with many other living creatures that work symbiotically with us to keep us alive. This week, we honor those pollinators who work to keep our food and agricultural system thriving. Without pollinators, we could expect to see a drastic change in our grocery stores and food shelves. Which in turn, would significantly change our way of life.

In order to protect these important pollinators, many state and national initiatives have been started. But, what’s even more impressive is the amount of love we see for pollinators in our own community. Here in Fort Wayne alone, there are a number of organizations that work daily to help pollinators. ACRES Land Trust, a nonprofit, works to preserve land in northeast Indiana, southwest Michigan, and northwest Ohio. Little River Wetlands and Eagle Marsh work towards the restoration of wetlands while hosting events throughout the year such as Monarch Festival and Earth Day celebrations to honor our ecosystem and pollinators. Southwest Honey Co. aims to protect the ever-struggling honey bees while educating the community on pollinators and their importance in our environment.

We see more initiatives through Indiana Native Plants and Wildflowers Society (INPAWS)- that believes “Together we’re working to create healthy ecosystems, teach the next generation to love the land, and save the wild beauty of Indiana.” We see this love for pollinators though the efforts of the Riverview Native Nursery that works to provide native and chemical free plants to people of the area. Planting native flowers and plants in your gardens is a sure way to help the pollinators of this world. Earth Source/Heartland Restoration works to help with projects such as prairie restorations, and providing planters with native seed mixes and plants. The list could go on and on. Each of these projects and organizations provide more land, habitat, and food for pollinators, birds and other wildlife
What can you do to help? One of the easiest ways for members of the community to help pollinators is to plant a pollinator garden full of native Indiana plants and flowers. Pollinator habitat can exist almost anywhere, including backyards, fields, farms, conservation grasslands, roadsides, and forests. If you are interested in establishing or restoring habitat on your land, you can contact many of the above-mentioned organizations to help you get started.

So, as you venture outdoors in the coming days, keep your eyes peeled for our pollinator friends. Keep in mind all the wonderful commodities they provide for us and remember to thank them every once in a while!

If you’d like to discover more ways to help pollinators, visit www.southwesthoney.com for information.

The Waynedale News Staff
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Megan Ryan

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