Pollinators are birds, butterflies, bees, bats, and other small insects and mammals that go from plant to plant carrying pollen on their bodies, helping most flowering plants (the ones where our fruits, vegetables, and nuts come from) reproduce. Some of their populations have been declining fast, mostly due to the loss of their natural habitats.
Recognizing the importance of pollinators to agriculture and nature in general, and doing our part to help restore their habitats are great steps towards fixing the problem before it’s too late.
According to Ph.D Bruno Borsari, biology professor and researcher at Winona State University, the best way to help increase pollinator populations is to restore their feeding and nesting habitats by planting species native to the area and rich in pollen – in our case, prairies.
In the Coulee Region, Dr. Borsari insists that when it comes to restoring prairies, “every little bit counts – even small plots can make a difference; but the larger the prairie plot, the more pollinators it will attract.” Perennials from the sunflower and mint families, especially blazing stars, bee balm, and foxgloves, are sure to please the hungry visitors. We can all help by planting prairie gardens in our yards and, in exchange, Mother Nature will thank us with beautiful flowers and the opportunity for curious little eyes to learn about pollination up close.