U S Fish and Wildlife Service




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Partners for Pollinators

Pollinators are critically important to both the ecosystem and the economy.   More than 75 percent of flowering plants rely on pollinators, and honey bees alone are responsible for an estimated $15 billion worth of pollinator services to agriculture in the U.S.   Among the 1,353 species listed in the U.S. as endangered or threatened are bats, birds, and insects that pollinate a variety of plants, as well as plants that rely on pollinators.

Pollinators are important to the conservation and management of at-risk plants.  Most plants rely on animal pollinators to carry pollen from one flower to another so that they can produce the seeds vital to reproduction.  For their part, the pollinators usually receive a nectar reward.  In some cases, there is a close association of one plant with one pollinator species, and when either decline, the other is adversely affected.  For example, the pua'ala, a plant species that grows on cliffs on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, had only one known pollinator, a moth species that is now believed to be extinct.  To conserve the pua'ala, the plants had to be pollinated by hand.  This may not sound that difficult until you consider the habitat; to reach the plants, climbers had to rappel down the cliffs where the species grew.  We are now able to cultivate the plants, making hand-pollination easier.  

Recent evidence indicates that certain pollinators may be declining.  People from conservation organizations, government agencies, industry, and academia are working together through the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) to promote conservation and education.  In celebration of Pollinator Week, June 22 to 28, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other federal agencies, and the NAPPC will provide a variety of educational tools and materials to promote pollinator awareness.

During the week, the Service will provide links to a series of Podcasts that have been developed by the Service and other federal agencies on a variety of pollinator topics.  These podcasts will include such topics as how to help pollinators and native bee inventories in the National Capital area.

For people involved with education and outreach, a PowerPoint presentation about pollinators is now available.  The PowerPoint is designed to be presented to a group before going outdoors to find local pollinators, or to provide background information about a variety of pollinators for the group leader.

For those involved with planting or other restoration projects, the Pollinator Partnership hasdebuted a series of "Ecoregional Guides" to help in selecting plants beneficial to pollinators.  These guides are available fordownload and will contain lists of native plants and information on the pollinators that are attracted to them.

Lastly, a pollinator curriculum titled "The Nature's Partners:  Pollinators, Plants, and You" can be downloaded  without charge.  The curriculum is designed to educate 3rd to 6th grade children about pollinators, the important role they play and ways they can help pollinators survive.  It emphasizes the scientific thinking process throughout and is beautifully illustrated. 

If you would like to learn more about pollinators and what you can do to help them, visit the Service's Pollinator Portal. For additional information on Pollinator Week, visit www.pollinator.org.


Dolores A. Savignano is a biologist in the Service's Division of Environmental Quality and is the Service's liaison to the Coevolution Institute on pollinator conservation and education.

Last Updated: September 2008