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Tending The Grounds For Pollinators

May 4, 2017
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

They say that in spring a young man's fancy turns to love. Well, the rest of us seem to focus on gardening and lawn care. We've had a taste of spring now, and we are champing at the bit to get out and rake, seed, plant, and mow. I would like to request something from each of you: don't. Oh, I don't mean that you should NEVER do those things, but don't be in too much of a hurry. We people really like things neat and orderly, but Nature doesn't.

Many of the species of pollinators that we all love and enjoy flitting around our flowers in the summer spend their winter in the refuse from last year, as eggs, or cocoons, or just hibernating. If you clean that all up too soon, you may be destroying this year's bees and butterflies. Instead, wait until it gets really warm and the ground has dried up. This gives them the chance to become active.

If you want to make a difference in the populations of various pollinators, please also consider restoring an area of your yard to native plants and grasses. They are truly beautiful and provide the nutrients that our native pollinators need to survive. Remember, they evolved together over millennia and are ideally suited to each other's needs. You may love that exotic plant you have been babying along every year, but the odds are that most pollinators don't recognize it as a food source. Of course, it's fine to put things in your yard for your own pleasure, but keep in mind that we humans have destroyed nearly all the natural habitat in Iowa, so it behooves us to put a little something back. And if you have a ditch along your property, PLEASE don't mow it! Pollinators need ditches to serve as corridors from one place to another. If it is weedy, just spot spray the "bad" stuff. Even better, contact Kent Malm, who is the Integrated Roadside Vegetation manager for Palo Alto County. He will HAPPILY come and help restore the ditch to natives which won't need any care!

We have ignored the needs of wildlife in favor of our own comfort. Now, through our actions, we have reached a point where bumblebees and butterflies, the most harmless of creatures, are in danger of extinction. As caretakers of the land, it is our obligation to restore balance before they are gone. And, really, who wouldn't miss butterflies?

(signed)?Cynthia Bekland

Cylinder, IA

 
 
 

 

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