They may be small, but pollinators play a huge role in people’s lives.
The food supply for humans as well as wildlife would simply stop if it weren’t for the bees, butterflies, bats and birds that tend to wild and agricultural plants
• Many species of pollinators are seeing declines from changes in land use and certain pesticides. Here are some ways to help reverse the trend
• A little manicured lawn space is fine, but there are many native species of plants and flowers that can create stunning displays of color just as well as those potted plants found at the store.
Local animal species have adapted to use these plants much more readily than exotics when they are available. In many cases, such as with the monarch butterfly and milkweeds, a particular species of animal relies on a particular type of native plant to complete its life cycle to create the next generation of pollinators.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has worked with the Arkansas Monarch Conservation Partnership to create a brochure on native plants gardeners and homeowners can use to boost the attractiveness of their yards and help pollinator populations throughout the state. Call 501-223-6352 to request a copy of this colorful guide to native Arkansas plants.
• Simply keeping an eye out for pollinating species and helping track their movements can play a huge role in conservation efforts. It can be an activity the whole family can enjoy. Game and Fish has a project for monarch butterflies and efforts that involve bees and other pollinating species. To report pollinator sightings, visit the iNaturalist website and create a free account. Then navigate to the Arkansas Monarch Mapping Project page. Click on the red banner that says “add observations” and complete the information fields. You may also upload a picture, if you have it. If you upload a picture taken with a smartphone, the iNaturalist platform automatically gathers data on when and where the photo was taken.
• For anyone who wants to get waist-deep in some work that really makes a difference, he can join up with friends to form a native seed-collecting effort. Game and Fish is a participating member of Project Wingspan, which organizes seed-collecting events in Arkansas and through the Midwest. The group oversees the distribution of collected seed back on the landscape.
Contact Allison Fowler, Game and Fish wildlife diversity program biologist, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and form your own seed-collecting effort.