Pollinators – bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, are vital to the needs of humans. In addition to ensuring the integrity of vital ecosystems, pollinators participate in the production of food sources such as nuts and fruits by migrating pollen between male and female plant species. Over the past several decades, the pollinator population has shown signs of dwindling as their habitats are in rapid decline.
The Pollinator Partnership, begun in the late 1990’s, has identified its mission as the protection of pollinators and reduction of their dwindling populations. In 2016, they introduced the Pollinator Partnership Action Plan (PPAP) receiving support from then President Obama. The PPAP lists three specific goals:
- Honey Bees: Reduce honey bee colony losses during winter (overwintering mortality) to no more than 15% within 10 years.
- Monarch Butterflies: Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies occupying an area of approximately 15 acres (6 hectares) in the overwintering grounds in Mexico, through domestic/international actions and public-private partnerships, by 2020.
- Pollinator Habitat Acreage: Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next 5 years through Federal actions and public/private partnerships.
Each year, the Pollinator Partnership works with states and countries to promote its efforts through “Pollinator Week”. Pollinator Week is designed to bring attention to the plight of the pollinators through educational events and activities, and encourage individuals to contribute to the protection of pollinators by including plants and flowers that are appealing to a wide variety of species. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) suggests incorporating the following plant species into the landscape to benefit pollinators:
- Anise hyssop
- Black-eyed Susan
- Coral honeysuckle
- Passion flower
- Purple coneflower