Monarchs!

Monarch butterflies and caterpillars have been spotted in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Our habitat has over 300 stems of common, butterfly, swamp and whorled milkweed for monarchs and other beneficial insects. Please consider planting more milkweed and other native plants in your landscape to benefit pollinators.

MJ Frogge

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Snow!

The Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat received snow this week. I enjoy looking for animal tracks after it snows.  Even though it is cold, there is lots of activity in the habitat. Birds, a squirrel, rabbits and deer visit the Cherry Creek habitat.

MJ Frogge

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Frosty Day in the Habitat

Winter is here at the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. The insect hotel we built in 2013 is still holding up well. It is filled with pine cones, logs, twigs, bark, rolled corrugated cardboard and egg cartons. These items are nice hiding places for insects.  Beneficial insects like lady bugs and lacewing over winter as adults, so they need a place to spend winter months. Consider constructing one in your pollinator habitat next year.

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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Praying Mantid Egg Case

Yesterday was a great fall day to be in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Jody and I were weeding and doing a little bit of clean up. While we were doing this, we found a few Chinese praying mantids egg cases. They are roundish and look like foam. The Carolina mantid egg case is flat, rectangular shaped and smaller. Both mantids are found in Nebraska.

If you find praying mantid egg cases on your plants or in the landscape, you should leave them alone. Each egg case contain up to two hundred eggs. In the spring the nymphs will emerge and they look like tiny versions of adult mantids. These insects are beneficial because they eat insect pests. But they can also eat other beneficial insects as well.

MJ Frogge

September Blooming

The Cherry Creek Pollinator habitat is full of color and life. There are so many important native plants blooming now. These plants are important because they are used by migrating butterflies like monarch and painted ladies. They are also important to the native bees and other beneficial insects that will be active until the first hard frost. Blooming in the habitat right now is smooth aster, tall thistle, sawtooth sunflower, goldenrod and pitcher sage.

MJ Frogge

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Five Years!

This is the 5th summer for the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat!  It is amazing to see how much we have accomplished in 5 years. We started with a neglected lawn area behind our office and turned it into a thriving habitat for pollinators and wildlife. The habitat is a great place to teach youth, adults, Master Gardeners and even our own staff about the importance of pollinators. Every time I visit the habitat I see or learn something new. It has been a rewarding experience and I hope it has been an inspiration for you as well.

MJ Frogge

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Accomplishments

Two educational signs

One solitary bee house

One insect hotel

Three water stations

Weather station

Live habitat web cam

Picnic table and bench

Bird feeding stations

Over 40 native plants with name labels

Over 190 stems of common milkweed for monarchs and other beneficial insects

Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program site

Hours of educational outreach for youth and adults

The Buzz at Cherry Creek blog

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