Spotlight on pollinators

Dear Sam,

I recently had a conversation with a neighbor who mentioned installing a pollinator garden as part of a pollinator pathway. I nodded and listened, but I’m just not sure about the importance of these measures. Can you help me understand why there’s such a spotlight on these pollinator pathways?




Dear Bea,

Absolutely! In 2017, the Rusty Patched Bumblebee was placed on the endangered species list, having lost 90% of its population.This was primarily due to industrial farming, the use of chemical insecticides, and the homogeneity of most modern lawns, which have led to a scarcity of wild native plant species within the city. These pollinators rely on these native plants to survive. In turn, we depend on the bees to continue living life as we know it. These little creatures are not just crucial to the pollination of several crops and plant species, including tomatoes, clover, and blueberries, but they also play a significant role in our daily lives. Just think about the Caprese salads and berry parfaits we enjoy in the summer!

In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature took a significant step by establishing the Lawns to Legumes program. This program aims to provide education about endangered pollinators, native plant species, and safe insect management. It’s a testament to the power of community action. The Tangletown, Lyndale, and Kingfield neighborhood associations joined forces to establish the pathway that your neighbor mentioned. They provided grants to neighbors throughout the three neighborhoods to establish and maintain bee-friendly gardens. See a summary of that inspiring work here.

If you’re interested in protecting pollinators and creating your own bee-friendly garden, check out this study from the University of Minnesota to learn more about the Rusty Patched Bumblebee and conserving pollinators.

Thank you for the bee-autiful question!