Pollinator Week – “Bee” a Part of the S.H.A.R.E. Movement

In celebration of Pollinator Week on June 17-23, 2013, the Pollinator Partnership (P2) is asking everyone to join the S.H.A.R.E. (Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment) program.  Be a part of our goal to create 1 million S.H.A.R.E. habitat sites in 3 years.  The sites range from window boxes to acres of farm land. We spotlight these efforts on an interactive map.

The goal of the S.H.A.R.E. program is to increase the number of pollinators in your area by making conscious choices to include plants that provide essential habitat for bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. S.H.A.R.E. does not compete with any certification program, but rather provides organizations and individuals a way to connect together specifically for pollinator habitat. The registration provides a way to get more people working to put in pollinator habitat and connect the dots on the map for pollinator floral resources. Together, we are changing the North American landscape!  It’s easy to get involved - let us know what you’re doing by registering your pollinator habitat today by visiting here.

Register your S.H.A.R.E. habitat

View the S.H.A.R.E. Map

Learn more about S.H.A.R.E.

**Here is a great example of a registered P2 S.H.A.R.E. habitat**

A S.H.A.R.E. Habitats Supporting Pollinator Research

With the 2012 field season completed and preliminary results reviewed, P2 scientist Dr. Vicki Wojcik has been busy visiting Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) farm sites in Montana, Washington, Iowa, and Nebraska to set-up for the second year of research.

P2 is working with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to measure how pollinator conservation programs, like the CP-42 seeding in CRP enrollment, benefit native bees and honey bees. Our key research questions are: Are more diverse pollinator mixes better? How does habitat area factor into how many pollinators are supported? How do honey bees and native bees respond to CRP pollinator habitats?

At each of the sites Dr. Wojcik meets with farmers and ranchers and receives an account of their experience with the CRP program and the pollinator seeding. Each participant wants to know how well the bees are doing on their CRP plot. Since planting these mixes the land owners have seen additional wildlife such as quail, pheasants, deer, and even skunks and badgers.

Thanks to our great local research team, results from year one are in and are suggesting a few things; honey bees are making more honey on CRP sites compared to control farms; and native bees are nesting in much higher numbers on the pollinator CRP seeded farms. We are also seeing more native bees in these conservation fields. The largest seeded areas in this study are attracting the largest numbers of bees – so size looks like it might be a significant factor in pollinator conservation.

CRP plantings take a few years to mature, as not all seeds germinate at the same rates.  What we are seeing sprouting this year is much more lush and diverse than last year; we are expecting some great results in 2013. Once this project is complete we will work with FSA and NRCS to provide best management suggestions for pollinator conservation in agricultural systems.

About pollinators:  Pollinators are birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, small mammals, and most importantly, bees.  They are responsible for pollinating nearly one-third of every bite of food we eat and the global value of crops pollinated by bees is estimated to be nearly $217 billion.  These invaluable creatures are facing troubling declines in the U.S. Some species have seen a 90% decline in their populations over the last decade. 

The picture to the right is a CRP Field next to a wheat field in Washington.

This week, the Pollinator Partnership and its many pollinator partners are celebrating Pollinator Week. Learn more about this week and how you can use conservation to help pollinators on your land.

Follow the pollinator buzz by reading stories from other pollinator conservationists. Visit with our NRCS partners tomorrow to read the next in this series.