4-H Youth and Habitat Discovery

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!

MJ

Youth journaling in habitat.

Youth journaling in habitat.

Boys on new bench in habitat.

Boys on new bench in habitat.

Nature journaling in habitat.

Nature journaling in habitat.

Youth with their new bee houses to take home.

Youth with their new bee houses to take home.

New Educational Signs

New pollinator sign installed at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.

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.

MJ

Educational sign at the west entrance of the pollinator habitat.

Educational sign at the west entrance of the pollinator habitat.

Happy Pollinator Week!

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.

Purple poppy mallow in habitat.

New bench added to Cherry Creek 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:

http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/2015-nebraska-pollinator-week-bee-blitz

MJ

What is blooming in the Habitat

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.
MJ

Penstemon grandiflorus  blooming in the habitat.

Penstemon grandiflorus blooming in the habitat.