Master Gardeners at the Habitat

Yesterday we invited our UNL Extension Master Gardener volunteers to visit the Cherry Creek Habitat.  They participated in a Stationary Pollinator Count.  Observations made over a known period of time watching a known number of flowers on a single plant species is classified as a Stationary Count.  After the count they toured the habitat.  We discussed the different types of bees that have been nesting in the bee house and viewed the wide variety of plants that we have blooming.

MJ

UNL Extension Master Gardener volunteers in Lancaster County  participating in pollinator count.

UNL Extension Master Gardener volunteers in Lancaster County participating in pollinator count.

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When a thistle makes you smile…

Native thistles like this tall thistle, are important to our pollinators. Remember, not all thistles are bad. It didn’t take long for the bumble bees and skipper to find this beautiful thistle flower. The tall thistles are just starting to bloom in the Cherry Creek Habitat. We can’t wait!!

Native thistles are both beautiful and important to our pollinators.


Enjoy “A Pasture Poem” by Richard Wilbur featuring the “thistle”
– also set to music (full text of the poem follows)

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Pollinator Counts

On Sunday my family helped me conduct a pollinator count at the Cherry Creek Habitat.  We each selected a Lemon Queen sunflower plant to watch for 5 minutes.  Our results were: 26 pollinators visited 7 flowers on 3 sunflower plants. Our data will be entered at The Great Sunflower Project website.

Pollinator count on sunflowers at habitat.

Pollinator count on sunflowers at habitat.

Why are pollinator counts important?  We know pollinator populations are declining. Little is know about urban pollinators and what their populations are. We do not know much about how healthy bee populations are maintained in an urban environment. Because natural habitats are uncommon in urban landscapes, they may not provide enough resources to support viable pollinator communities. However, if other habitats, such as urban gardens and restored areas, are sufficiently connected to natural habitats, then native populations may thrive.

By finding a way to track and place value on natural ecosystems, we will find a future in which conservation is a guiding principle of daily decision making throughout the world. Our pollinator count at the Cherry Creek Habitat is a step in the right direction.

MJ