Pollinator Week 2021
The Buzz Behind Pollinator Week
By Frances Sanchez and Elizabeth Matney
Pollinator Week is June 21-27, and it is where we celebrate pollinators and learn the best practices to help conserve them. There are many pollinators, including bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, fireflies, and birds; here at the Cibolo Center for Conservation, we take particular interest in helping to protect Monarch Butterflies. Though we have all heard of Monarchs, most of us don’t realize what an impressive species they are.
Monarch Butterflies migrate each year across the United States. There are two migrating populations of monarch butterflies in North American divided by the Rocky Mountains. The range of eastern monarchs extends from Canada to Mexico, while western monarchs are more focused in the United States from the Pacific Coast inward. Still, their lifespans are less than a year-long, meaning that these butterflies mysteriously know where their great-grandparents traveled to the previous year, up to three thousand miles away from where they were born.
While we don’t know how they do this, we know that they need milkweed for survival. However, with modern agricultural practices and development, the supply of milkweed has diminished, placing monarch butterflies on the candidate list for the Endangered Species Act.
Earlier this year, Tim Handren, the mayor of Boerne, signed the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, an initiative created by the National Wildlife Federation as a conservation action to restore and create habitat for these animals to thrive. As a leader of this City of Boerne initiative, we are proud to collaborate with the mayor and the City of Boerne to encourage the community to take a deeper interest in saving monarchs.
Pollinators are critical to our planet, and their contributions are essential for our survival. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations states that three out of four crops across the globe that produce fruits or seeds as human food depend on pollinators.
Our community scientists at the Cibolo collect data on the number of milkweed plants and monarch butterflies, and caterpillars to aid research around the nation. In fact, it is believed that the Cibolo has the longest consecutively running milkweed monitoring research in North America.
Today, there are many things you can do to help preserve the monarchs as well as other pollinators. It is as simple as planting milkweed in your garden or even purchasing a small potted milkweed plant. We strongly recommend visiting a native plant nursery or seeking help from the Native Plant Society of Texas for their many resources on native plants in the region.
Remember, you can always visit us on Saturdays at Herff Farm from 9:00-1:00. Our Monarch Meadow Trail is open to the public to show how milkweed grows and further encourages planting these plants in your yard.
We also offer Gardening 101 Classes every third Saturday through November. We cover everything from how to get started and practice planting and transplanting seedlings. Attendees leave with a sense of encouragement and a starter plant for their home gardens. Next month, you can catch our class on Pollinators on July 17th at 2 pm. Visit Cibolo.org for more information.
Saving pollinators can significantly impact the population’s survival, and you can make a real difference. So, this Pollinator Week, take time to appreciate the creatures that pollinate our food and think about what steps you can take to help.