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Service Rises to the 2011 Pollinator Challenge!

Some pollinator populations are declining with the most probable causes being habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, disease, and misuse of pesticides.  The 2011 Pollinator Challenge was issued to our offices to focus on pollinator conservation efforts and educating the public on what they can do to help. During the Challenge period, we more than doubled the amount of pollinator conservation and education activities over those reported in 2010!  Activities included nearly 40 habitat restorations; 30 pollinator gardens; native bee surveys on 19 wildlife refuges, 16 surveys for butterflies or other non-bee pollinators, and over 200 educational events focusing on or including pollinators.  

Each Region earned points during the Challenge period for pollinator conservation and education activities.  The Region with the most points at the end of the Challenge was declared the 2011 Service Pollinator Champion and won recognition as leaders in pollinator conservation and education. 

The response to the Challenge was awesome and the Pacific and Southwest Regions were recognized as co-champions!  Every Region had great participation and showed creativity in the variety of activities and approaches to their conservation and education programs.  Surveys of plants and pollinators federally listed as threatened and endangered were conducted; hummingbirds were banded and surveyed; conservation partnerships ranged from Audubon and Xerces to Bridgestone and Toyota; hundreds of acres were restored; and over 200 outreach and education events were held.

Habitat restoration projects were a huge part of the Challenge. Regions implemented or continued habitat management plans beneficial to pollinators, in general, as well as for specific pollinator-plant associations. Offices also provided small-scale habitat – bee boxes!
A woman and man stand holding the bee boxes they built.
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge held a lecture on native pollinators and then had a hands-on bee house workshop. Credit: USFWS
Sullys Hill National Game Preserve has made it a priority to restore native plantings around its visitor center for the enjoyment of its visitors and for use by pollinators and other invertebrates. Credit: USFWS
field of purple flowers in front of the visitors center.
field full of grasses and yellow wildflowers.
The Eastern District North Dakota Fire District implemented prescribed burns on 1,174 acres on Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge to restore native prairie habitat.  Fields were seeded with a native mixture of grasses and forbs. Credit: USFWS 
Pollinator gardens were planted and maintained on several Refuges throughout the Regions, as well as at schools, libraries, and nature preserves. All projects emphasized the importance of native plants to local pollinator populations. Pollinator gardens appealed to all ages!
small boy smiling and holding a bucket
"Kinder-Gardener" helps with the Humanity for Habitat garden at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo: C. Lafferty ©
Three members of the LaCrosse Area Garden Club standing nest to the butterfly garden and smiling for the camera.
The LaCrosse Area Garden Club helped the Genoa National Fish Hatchery revitalize their butterfly garden. Credit: USFWS
several people using various hand tools and working in the pollinator garden.
Washington County Master Gardners help to maintain the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge butterfly garden. Credit: USFWS
photo of a young person holding a hose and watering the pollinator garden plants.
YCC students weeded Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge’s pollinator garden and re-planted with native plants. Credit: USFWS
phhoto of yellow, rose colored and pink flowers in full bloom.
Pollinator garden in full bloom at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS


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