When my son was in third grade, his passion for the environment, wildlife, and plants began. A couple of years later, he asked why we have such a big yard and not as many plants we can eat and pollinators to help the bees. I started doing a little research and learned that our pollinators in Ohio and across the globe are being threatened and that without bees and other pollinators, our food supply is seriously being threatened. We’ve made changes in our backyard habits over the years and continue to improve our backyard to help Ohio pollinators.
Does Your Backyard Help Ohio Pollinators?
June is National Pollinators Month which is perfect timing since it’s finally warm enough in Ohio to get outside and garden. We will be making all sorts of decisions in June regarding our lawn care, whether to plant a vegetable garden or not, what flowers to plant, etc. It’s also a great opportunity to do more in your backyard to support pollinators. Butterflies, moths, beetles, bees, flies, bats, and hummingbirds rely on our backyards and other community green spaces for food and shelter…and we rely on them, too!
Did you know?
• 35% of the world’s crops exists because of pollinators – especially our favorites like apples, blueberries, pumpkins, and watermelon!
• 80% of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce
• More than 3,500 species of native bees help increase crop yields
How to help Ohio Pollinators
You can help Ohio pollinators in your own backyard by selecting flowering plants that thrive in your yard’s conditions. Consider the following when choosing your plants: climate zone, soil type, sun/shade ratio, and average rainfall. Growing native plants adds beauty and important habitats for wildlife, especially for pollinators.
Another way to help pollinators in your backyard? Plant a healthy balance of grasses, garden flowers, shrubs, and trees. My favorites are butterfly milkweed, purple coneflower, prairie dropseed grass, black-eyed susans (Metro parks does a great job planting native flowers).
To learn more about how to attract pollinators to your backyard to save them and our food supply, check out this infographic from TurfMutt or go to www.turfmutt.com.
My final thought
When kids talk about what they are passionate about and you respond with action, it shows them that what they say is important. For my family, encouraging our kids’ passions not only helps the environment in this case but has helped mold our kids into who they are and what they do in the future. My son is leaning toward environmental science when he graduates next year. I feel like if we didn’t encourage him in his passion early on and continue to prune that with our own actions, then that passion may have faded.
Also, even a small backyard garden can make a big difference. Small changes count and can build up on each other to become big things. Start off this summer by adding a few plants here or there – now is the perfect time to split your perennials so share with friends or ask a friend for them to split some for you.