Newsroom Midwest Region

Minnesotans discover their neighborhood pollinators

A shanty on the ice painted with plants and pollinators
Communities are discovering their local pollinators by visiting the Pollinator Shanty on Bde Unma / Lake Harriet. Photo by Thia Xiong/USFWS.

Designed in the shape of a colorful giant flower, against the stark white frozen Minnesota shoreline, the Pollinator Shanty is attracting people just as pollinators are drawn to nectar. We, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are again partnering with local artists to provide an interactive art exhibit for the 2020 Art Shanty Village.

"The shanty is a celebration of our native Minnesota pollinators and a place for the community to connect to the outdoors," says Suzanne Trapp, Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The village is located on Bde Unma / Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. Once on the ice, you can navigate through the village riding a pollinator bicycle "puppet" and wearing a pollinator decorated helmet. Then take a rest on the pollinator bench, or hunt for the Minnesota pollinators that are painted on the shanty.

Bicycles decorated as pollinators
Visitors can ride a pollinator puppet bicycle on the ice at the Pollinator Shanty. Photo by Mara Koenig/USFWS.

Entering the shanty, you are transported to the Mexican State of Michoacán where the monarch butterfly overwinters. Oyamel fir tree forest sculptures rise up the circular walls, covered with paper monarchs clipped to the branches. You can "tag" a paper monarch with your city and state to represent your migration to the shanty, like the monarch’s migration to Mexico.

"We want visitors to discover their neighborhood pollinators and the easy actions they can do at home to help them," says Trapp.

Pollinator populations across North America are changing. Many are in decline. We aim to recover pollinator populations by creating pollinator habitat. Creating pollinator habitat – from a potted plant to a community garden – brings us food and sustains our ecosystems. Creating and maintaining pollinator habitat also purifies water, prevents soil erosion and filters the air

The frozen Bde Unma / Lake Harriet is the backdrop to more than 20 structures and interactive exhibits representing more than 100 artists. The Art Shanty Village is happening every weekend from January 18 - February 9, 2020.