Bear Yuba Land Trust is launching a community education and action campaign to ensure the survival of honeybees and other local populations of pollinators threatened by habitat loss, disease and pesticide exposure.
Coined the “Pollinator Project,” the campaign has a number of components, that includes: Community education and outreach for backyard gardeners, native pollinator plantings on Land Trust preserves this fall, needed open space for local beekeepers and participation in “Co-op Cause,” a register donation program, at BriarPatch Co-op in August and September.
By donating change from purchases at BriarPatch Co-op, “Change adds up for Bees,” customers will help BYLT restore pasture lands and native grasslands and create healthy habitats for pollinators like bees and butterflies that have been altered by decades of invasive plant growth. This program can serve as a model for other agricultural lands in the region. The data collected from BYLT’s research will help area farms and ranches increase the health of their lands. One third of all food – every third bite – consumed in the world depends on the work of pollinators.
At checkout, customers simply need to ask the cashier to round up their total payment to the nearest dollar or more. When specified, the amount over and above the purchase total — 100 percent of it — will be donated to BYLT’s “Pollinator Project.”
BYLT, has protected thousands of acres and is working with local beekeepers in need of large open spaces to station honeybee apiaries. By supporting land conservation and BYLT, the public can ensure that pollinators have plentiful and appropriate open space habitat.
Despite the global decline in pollinator populations, patches of flowering plants and grasses grown in backyard gardens offer promise as an important food source for bees and other pollinators.
“This past spring local beekeeper Randy Oliver’s bees, who forage in the wild, were suffering from a lack of flowers and nectar. Another local beekeeper, Dan Wheat, noticed his bees, who forage in nearby neighborhood gardens, were doing OK considering a lack of rain. You can make a difference to the pollinator populations by growing flowering plants – including the vegetables in your backyard garden,” said BYLT’s Development and Programs Manager Melony Vance.
There are many kinds of pollinators including: European honeybees, native bees, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds. There are over 4,000 species of native bees. They nest underground in twigs, debris and dead trees. Pollinators need flowers, water, open spaces and grasslands for healthy communities. Like all wildlife, they are affected by changes to the landscape.
Backyard gardeners can grow a variety of pollinator-friendly plants in the landscape that bloom at different times of the year. Native flowering plants that are easy to grow at home include: Baby Blue Eyes, Black Eyed Susan, Blue Eyed Grass, California Aster, California Buckwheat, California Fuchsia, California Goldenrod, California Poppy, Coneflower, Coreopsis, Five Spot, Lupine, Phacelia, Salvias, Scarlet Larkspur, Wild Peas. Bees also like non-native herbs such as: lavender, rosemary and sunflowers.
Other things backyard gardeners can do: Reduce or eliminate pesticide use in the landscape or incorporate plants that attract beneficial insects for pest control; supply clean water in shallow dishes for pollinators; leave dead tree trunks in the landscape for wood-nesting bees and beetles.
Bear Yuba Land Trust is a community-supported organization dedicated to saving land for the health of the people and animals that live here, building and maintaining miles of local trails and providing quality nature programming that gets people outdoors.
For a wide variety of pollinator seed mixes to plant in home gardens, visit Peaceful Valley Farm Supply: http://www.groworganic.com/
For information on beekeeping, classes and supplies, visit A to Z Supply: https://www.atozsupply.com/
For more information about the Pollinator Project, visit: www.bylt.org
For more information about Co-op Cause, visit: http://www.briarpatch.coop/