Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Bumblebee on Butterfly Weed. Photo by Rick Hansen/USFWS.

Bumblebee on Butterfly Weed. Photo by Rick Hansen/USFWS.

Let's Bee Clear

What if we asked you, “What is a pollinator?”

Most of us would say a pollinator is an insect that goes around and helps plants reproduce.

You would be correct!

Most of us automatically think of bees when asked what a pollinator is. That’s only part of the answer! The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) recently installed two interpretive signs that describe what pollinators are and how you can be pollinator friendly. So why do pollinators get their own signs at SNWR? Most plants depend on pollinators to move pollen from one flower to the next. Fruits and seeds will not be produced if their flowers are not pollinated. When many pollinators move from flower to flower drinking nectar, they are also moving pollen from flower to flower. We are taking steps to support the native pollinators of North America because it is important for native ecosystems!

SNWR is one of many stations in our Midwest Region that are hosting public events, creating and distributing information pamphlets, monitoring populations, and installing interpretive signs to be more pollinator friendly. “We hope our supportive efforts can help native bees and other pollinators restore native plant habitat so fish and wildlife can directly benefit from the thriving plants,” says Service wildlife biologist, Wedge Watkins. “Bees are the only intentional pollinators, and even though most wildlife managers are not entomologists, we are trying to understand native bees and other pollinators to maximize our effort to ensure we have fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats available for the public to enjoy,” continued Watkins.

We want the greater public to understand that by taking simple steps everyone can be pollinator friendly. Steve Kahl, Refuge Manager at SNWR describes public interest in the new signs: “With the three interpretive signs we have noticed our visitors taking time to observe the pollinator garden and enjoying the sights. So far 12 different butterfly species have been identified by Service staff and visitors at the pollinator gardens.” Without the help of a local Friends of Shiawassee NWR group the garden would not have been planted and the panels never created.

Remember you can be a friend to all the pollinators as spring and summer approaches by practicing these acts of kindness:

  • Think about where you like to go during the outdoor season
  • Find out how you can improve that place
  • Plant native species in your garden or your community garden

For maintaining a native pollinator-friendly garden keep in mind two things:

  • Remove unwanted plants by using your hands
  • If herbicides or chemicals are needed read the label and limit use

Check out our Attracting Pollinators Brochure for more information.

Four simple acts of kindness can make your garden look amazing. Pollinators will be happy to visit and help your plants flourish!

By Alejandro Morales
Regional Office -- External Affairs

Giant Swallow Tail Butterfly on Butterfly Weed. Photo by Rick Hansen/USFWS.

Giant Swallow Tail Butterfly on Butterfly Weed. Photo by Rick Hansen/USFWS.



Last updated: January 8, 2015