Each June, The Xerces Society joins organizations across the U.S. in recognition of National Pollinator Week. Established in 2006 by the U.S. Senate, National Pollinator Week commemorates pollinators and the indispensable services they provide. All week long, organizations, gardeners, businesses, schools, and many other groups will hold events and activities nationwide to celebrate pollinators and to raise awareness of the need to conserve them.
Pollinators give us many reasons to celebrate them. They are responsible for the reproduction of nearly 85 percent of flowering plants around the world, allowing plants that are food or habitat for other wildlife to persist. Pollinators also become food themselves for other wildlife, like songbirds. They are an indispensable component of a healthy environment.
Pollinators are vitally important to agriculture, too. More than two-thirds of crop species -- crops that produce fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, seeds, and livestock forage -- depend on them. From the coffee you drink in the morning to the apple pie you have for dessert, an estimated one-in-three mouthfuls you consume come from a pollinator-dependent crop.
Beyond the crucial ecosystem services they provide, pollinators are a diverse and fascinating group of animals in their own right. They include bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, some bats, some beetles, flies and wasps. We celebrate their amazing biology: the monarch butterfly's incredible long-distance migration, the unique buzz pollination behavior exhibited by bumble bees, and the way hawk moths, mid-flight, suspend themselves in the air to sip nectar from flowers.
Meanwhile, pollinator declines -- like that of the managed European honeybee, one-fourth of North America's native bumble bee species, and the iconic monarch butterfly -- show that pollinators shouldn't be taken for granted. There are simple steps that everyone can take to conserve pollinators, including creating pollinator gardens, restoring natural areas, and protecting pollinators from pesticides.
Here are just a few of the ways that Xerces currently protects pollinators:
This is the first Bring Back the Pollinators update for Pollinator Week. Be on the lookout for future emails packed with more things you can do to support pollinators and additional information about our work!