This morning Soni and I taught 4-H youth about pollinators in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. All week our office is hosting Clover College. For our Habitat Discovery session, youth did nature journaling, planted native plants in the habitat, planted sunflower seeds, installed a bee water source and made bee nesting tubes bundles for the bee nest box structure and insect hotel. At the end of the session the youth made nature journals and took home their own bee nest box to put in their landscape. Spending time educating youth about pollinators was a great way to finish Pollinator Week!
Youth journaling in habitat.
Boys on new bench in habitat.
Nature journaling in habitat.
Youth with their new bee houses to take home.
New pollinator sign installed at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.
We are so excited to have our new educational signs installed at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. The wet weather had slowed out progress this spring. With Chris’s help we were finally able to get them in place for Pollinator Week.
Soni and I had taken hundreds of pictures last year of native plants and pollinators we have in the habitat. We spent most of the winter months looking over our pictures and deciding what educational information we wanted to be included on our signs. Vicki, our Extension media specialist, did a fantastic job designing our signs and helping us share our message to those that visit our pollinator habitat.
Educational sign at the west entrance of the pollinator habitat.
Pollinator Week is June 15-21, 2015. There are many ways to celebrate pollinator week and we hope you will participate by helping pollinators in your landscape.
Purple poppy mallow in habitat.
New bench added to Cherry Creek habitat.
1. Plant Native Plants. Native flora provides native pollinators with food in the form of pollen and nectar. Select plants that have a long bloom time. Also grow a wide selection of plants so you have plants blooming April through October.
2. Let your yard get a little messy. Leave unhazardous snags for nesting places and stack down tree limbs to create a brush pile, which is a great source of cover for pollinators.
3. Create or protect water sources. Bees need water to drink. Create a water feature with rocks for insects to land. Be sure to keep birdbaths clean and change the water three times per week when mosquitoes are breeding.
4. Limit or eliminate pesticide use. By using fewer or no chemicals in the landscape you will help keep pollinator populations healthy.
5. Identify non-native invasive plants. Work to remove them from your yard. Do not bring any new invasive plants into your habitat. Invasive plants do not provide as much quality food or habitat as native plants do and can threaten healthy ecosystems.
Learn more about Pollinator Week in Nebraska:
What a nice surprise to see this penstemon blooming in the pollinator habitat. Penstemon grandiflorus or large-flowered beardtongue is native to Nebraska. This plant prefers full sun to partial shade, dry conditions and can tolerate poor soil. At mature height it can reach 2 feet. It has amazing large, tubular pink to purple flowers that bloom for just a short time in May to June. Bumblebees are attracted to this penstemon. I planted seeds in October 2013 and we are now rewarded by its beautiful flowers.
Penstemon grandiflorus blooming in the habitat.
About this photo: One of the skunks we see regularly in habitat photos captured with the live cam.
This photo was taken March 28, 2015 at 1 a.m. CT
Last fall, a Web camera was mounted so everyone could watch a live stream view of the Cherry Creek Habitat 24/7. In addition to the change in seasons, viewers have also enjoyed wildlife using this educational area.
A couple weeks ago, I went through the camera still shots and pulled together some of the highlights from January-April 2015. Vicki in our office posted the photos to Flickr. The list of wildlife includes: two different skunks, two raccoons, two cats, a small herd of deer, rabbits, squirrels, birds and a wild turkey. There is a description with the date/time of day each still photo was taken.
Cherry Creek Habitat Web Cam Still Photos 2015 – more photos will be added each month. Enjoy!
Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu
Posted in Habitat, Plants, Pollinators, Wildlife
Tagged beneficial, Education, habitat, insect, insects pollinators, Native, nature, pollinator, preservation, UNL Extension, wildlife
Prairie ragwort is a native plant that blooms May through June. This wildflower is a biennial or short-lived perennial that is approximately one foot tall. It attracts many pollinators like bees, flies, moths and butterflies.
Prairie ragwort blooming now in the Cherry Creek Habitat.
Ten Ways to Celebrate Earth Day
1. Learn about pollinators.
2. Make a bird or bee house.
3. Plant native plants.
5. Fix leaky faucets.
6. Pick up trash.
7. Carpool, ride a bike or walk to your destination.
8. Give up bottled water.
9. Start buying local.
10. Go paperless.
Solitary bee house.
Yesterday Soni and I were presenters at the Outdoor Discovery Program held at Platte River State Park. The weather was perfect, sunny, with a slight breeze. We taught 4th graders about pollinators and what they need for a habitat. We discussed one out of every three bites of food we eat is there because of pollinators. We asked the youth if they could make a list of pollinators and they easily mentioned bees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds. The kids were surprised to learn that flies and beetles could be pollinators too. We talked about native solitary bees and showed them bee houses.The youth were able to view pollinators in action since it was a beautiful spring day and there were blooming wild plums near our site. The kids were provided journals so they could record their observations. Thank you Nebraska Game and Parks for providing youth this wonderful educational opportunity.
Waiting for kids to arrive.
Finally a sunny day! I was very grateful for the rain we received, but it is really nice to see the sun. The wild plums are blooming in the habitat and they smell glorious. We ordered new plant tags to label our native plants. It is important that our pollinator habitat remain a learning tool. By labeling our native plants, visitors will be able to learn how attractive native plants can be in the landscape and hopefully plant them in their gardens.
New plant label in pollinator habitat.
Wild plum blooming near pollinator habitat
Spring officially begins with the vernal equinox today. We are so ready for spring weather. Plants are just starting to green up in the habitat. The purple poppy mallow is starting to grow. All winter I have kept the sunflower seed bird feeders and finch sock feeders filled for our habitat bird population. We have seen northern cardinal, American goldfinch, purple finch and dark-eyed junco visiting our feeders. In the evenings, raccoons, skunks, rabbits and deer have been seen on our live cam. We are pleased so much wildlife is visiting our habitat. We look forward to seeing our insect pollinators soon.
Purple poppy mallow growing in the habitat.
Habitat view and bird feeders in early February.