Resolutions to Help Pollinators

Happy New Year!

Here are a few ways you can help pollinators this year. This is a resolution that will be fun and easy to keep.


Offer a Drink & a Home
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. Build a bee house or insect hotel to provide nesting and shelter for pollinators.
Plant Native
Plant native plants in your landscape. There are so many amazing plants to choose from. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: plains coreopsis, pasque flower, pitcher sage, purple coneflower, smooth aster and rough gayfeather. Do not for get trees and shrubs!
Bloom all Season
It is important to have native flowers blooming the whole growing season. Pollinators need plants blooming March through November.
Plant Milkweed
Monarchs need our help. Provide food for monarch butterfly caterpillars. There are several milkweeds to choose from: butterfly milkweed, common milkweed, whorled milkweed and swamp milkweed.
No Chemicals
Protect pollinators by eliminating pesticides from your landscape. Plant native plants that have few pest or disease issues. Maintain a healthy soil by composting. Healthy soils produce healthy plants.
“Bee” Involved
Learn more about organizations that support pollinators such as Pollinator Partnership. You can participate in citizen scientist programs for pollinators such as Bumble Boosters-University of Nebraska, Bumble Bee Watch-Xerces Society, The Great Sunflower Project-San Francisco State University and the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project-Monarch Watch.

MJ Frogge

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New Educational Signs!

This week Chris finished up installing our new educational signs in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. We had moisture issues and ants nesting in our previous sign frames. Very frustrating!  Jenny helped us with the process of getting replacement frames. These frames were a different size, so new signs needed to be ordered. Vicki updated and ordered our educational signs and when they arrived, Chris installed them.  We are so pleased to have them since they are an important educational features in our pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge

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Calvert Rec Center Pollinator Garden

This week I visited the Calvert Rec Center Pollinator Garden. Two Nebraska Extension Lancaster County Master Gardeners, Nance and Mary, planted and maintain this garden as a volunteer project. They have planted many native plants that are labeled for the public to view. They have installed a bee water station and have spent hours weeding this impressive garden site.  Thank you for hard work and dedication to pollinators!

MJ Frogge

Youth Building for Pollinators

Wednesday was 4-H exhibit entry day at the Nebraska State Fair. While I was helping 4-H staff enter the exhibits for Lancaster county, I took a couple minutes to look at exhibits from other counties. I was really pleased at what I saw at the fair. Several 4-H youth had entered bee houses and small insect hotels. They were very clever with their designs and I managed to get pictures of a few of them. It is great to see Nebraska youth interested in pollinators and stepping up to help them.

Here is a NebGuide to help you get started building bee houses:

http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g2256.pdf

MJ Frogge

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Pollinator Talks & Tours – August 3 in Lincoln, Nebraska

The Pollinator Talks & Tours on August 3 is a terrific opportunity to learn more about pollinators, plants and take a tour of pollinator habitats. The tours will be led by staff from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, Entomology, Backyard Farmer, Nebraska By Heart, Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.

All events (with the exception of the 2 p.m. tour) begin from the Backyard Farmer (BYF) gardens east of UNL Keim Hall, 1825 N. 38th St in Lincoln, Nebraska.

At the BYF garden, FREE herbal tea will be available and for kids—pollinator activities, face-painting and make-your-own antennae.

Schedule of Events:

  • 9 a.m. Tour of “Nebraska by Heart” installations on UNL east campus
  • 10 and 11 a.m. Tours of the BYF garden and Maxwell, with a focus on plants for pollinators
  • 12 p.m. Brown-bag on monarchs by Shauna Groenewold, Citizen Scientist & Monarch Enthusiast
  • 2 p.m. Tour of Union Plaza pollinator plants starting from 2228 N. 21 St.

This event is sponsored by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, arboretum@unl.edu, 402-472-2971.

Event Links:

Looking for more family fun on August 3?

Enjoy the Pollinator Tours and Talks and then head over to the first official day of the Lancaster County Super Fair in Lincoln! Details at http://superfair.org

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Pollinator Education and Homes

Yesterday Soni, Jody and I taught a pollinator session for Habitat Discovery.  This was part of a week long day camp experience for youth at the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln. We wanted the kids to build an insect hotel on location that would benefit pollinators and be a lasting addition to the Outdoor Education Center. This was an ambitious task, since it took Soni and I about three months to gather supplies to build the insect hotel located at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. I asked Lancaster County Master Gardeners to collect twigs, pinecones and egg cartons for the project. The kids had a great time building the insect hotel and it was quite impressive after our two hour program.  The youth learned what solitary bees were and where they like to nest. They also got to make solitary bee homes out of recycled materials to take home and place in their landscapes. When the insect hotel was finished there was a solitary bee ready to check in!

MJ Frogge

Solitary Bee House make from recycled materials.Making Insect HotelInsect Hotel

Bee Fun Day

We wrapped up National Pollinator Week by attending Bee Fun Day at NEREC August N. Christenson Research & Education Building near Ithaca Nebraska yesterday. This event was sponsored by the Nebraska Beekeepers Association and Nebraska Extension. Soni, Jody and I had a youth activity booth for kids to make paper flowers and pipe cleaner caterpillars. We talked about what native plants are important to our native pollinators and what caterpillars need to eat to eventually turn into butterflies. We also took some time with our fellow Extension staff to scout for pollinators around the NEREC grounds.

MJ Frogge

UNL Gardens on East Campus

There are three must see gardens located at University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus in Lincoln Nebraska. All have plants for pollinators.

 

Back Yard Farmer Garden, located east of Keim Hall. Flower, vegetable and herb garden with All-America Selection plants.

Yeutter Gardens, located between Dairy Store and Maxwell Arboretum. Many perennial flowers.

The Pollinator Gardens, located east of the Vet Complex. Many pollinator plants, bee house and a huge honeycomb structure. Plan to attend the walking tour in July.

MJ Frogge

UNL Gardens Walking Tour

POLLINATOR GARDENS-East Campus, Lincoln Nebraska

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Dept. of Entomology Pollinator Gardens

The gardens consist of a Water-wise planting, a Pollinator Prairie, and a Pollinator Plot that includes areas specifically for Swallowtail and Monarch larvae.

Directions: Head east off the East Campus Loop between the Law College and Vet Complex, veer right at the end of the road and go through the gate. Follow the white rock road.

National Pollinator Week

It is National Pollinator Week! I am happy to share that the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification program has revised its application with an updated and bigger plant list! Hope you will consider applying to this program. Take a look at the application for the list of plants you might add to your landscape to benefit pollinators.

http://entomology.unl.edu/pollinator-habitat-certification

MJ Frogge

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Teaching Youth about Pollinators

Last Thursday Soni and I spent the day teaching 4th and 5th graders about pollinators at the Outdoor Discovery Program held every year at Platte River State Park hosted by Nebraska Game and Parks. The day started out chilly, but by afternoon we were able to see many pollinators and the kids were able to stretch out in the grassy area and work in their field journals. We found out the attending youth knew what pollination means, what pollinators are and how they are important.  What we were able to add to their knowledge was very interesting to them.  We discussed native pollinators and showed them nesting bee blocks with the leaf cutter bees still in them ready to emerge. The importance of early blooming plants, like dandelions, which they considered weeds, was a surprise to them. The discussion turned to what food crops needed pollinators to produce, like tomatoes, apples and almonds. By the end of each session, the kids had a better understanding of our native pollinators and how their habitat is important to protect.  It was a very fun day for all of us and it is great to partner with Nebraska Game and Parks in youth outdoor education.

MJ Frogge