Let's Go Outside . . .
Pollinators are Important
Yucca Moth photo by Doug Backlund, WildPhotosPhotography.com
There are over a million identified insect species in the world, and we are working to attract the bees and butterlies that call South Dakota home to this special garden.
Bees and butterflies are both insects that pollinate plants, and many plants need pollinators! Pollination is the act of moving pollen from one plant to another which alllows the plant to produce fertile seeds and fruit. Many of the fruits and vegetables we eat require a pollinator and without them, we would be left with only the plants that rely on the wind for pollination (like corn).
When people think about pollinators, bees are often the first things that come to mind, especially honey bees. There are many types of bees like bumble, carpenter, mason, and squash bees. There are also other insect pollinators including flies, butterflies, and beetles. Non-insect pollinators include some birds and bats.
Insect pollinator and butterfly friendly gardens like this one provide resources for all life stages of the organism. Bees not only need nectar and pollen for food (provided by the flowers we planted), but they also need a source of water (the puddling area) and a nesting site to maintain a local population (bare ground, hollow stems, trees, depending on the species). Butterflies need nectar sources for food, water for puddling, and host plants for their young (caterpillars) to eat.
This garden was designed with the insects in mind. We selected plants native to South Dakota. For things like the zinnias and cosmos which are in the garden to provide nectar, we avoided fancy cultivars and varieties and planted the plain species. Cultivars and varieties may not be as attractive or have as many floral resource for pollinators and butterflies.
It's also important to include a variety of flowers so that there are blooms throughout the season. This accomodates different pollinators' preferences and provide a series of pollen and nectar sources throughout the entire growing season.
- written by Amanda Bachmann
Native South Dakota Bee photo by Doug Backlund, WildPhotosPhotography.com
National Pollinator Week June 17 - 23, 2013
Butterflies are beautiful and fun to watch, but also play an important role as pollinators.
More than 100,000 different animal species play roles in pollinating the 250,000 kinds of flowering plants on this planet. Insects (bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, flies, beetles) are the most common pollinators, but as many as 1,500 species of vertebrates such as birds and mammals serve as pollinators; this includes hummingbirds, perching birds, flying foxes, fruit bats, possums, lemurs and even a lizard.
These hard-working animals help pollinate over 75% of our flowering plants, and nearly 75% of our crops.
Check out this website for more information on pollinators:
Clear-wing Moth photo by Doug Backlund, WildPhotosPhotography.com
Where is the Garden?
Oahe-Downstream Location Map
Fort Pierre, South Dakota
The Garden is located south of the parking lot by the Visitor Center. A large kiosk is at the edge of the trail.
This project was made possible with a grant from the USFWS Connecting People with Nature - Let's Get Outside fund.
An additional small grant came from the South Dakota Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
USFWS couldn't do this alone - many thanks go to the staff of South Dakota Game Fish & Parks for their participation during all aspects of the project -
The Activity Guide by Jen Fowler was made possible through the SDGFP Wildlife Division Small Grants Program.
Thanks go to the many students that participated in classroom activities to help grow plants and decorate the garden.
Thanks to Colleen Thompson for helping coordinate activities at the garden.
A big Thank You to all the volunteers who will help plant the perennials June 1 and 2.
Photos have been provided by:
Thanks to Gary Marrone for his inspiration to getting all of us interested in butterflies. Look for his book Field Guide to Butterflies of South Dakota, published in 2002.
Last updated: September 9, 2013