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Celebrate Virginia Pollinator Week With The Master Gardener Program

This week, Virginians will celebrate the bees, butterflies, birds, and bats that perform the vital work of pollination, following Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s declaration of the week of June 17-23 as Virginia Pollinator Week.

“Pollinators play a critical role in our ecosystems,” said Ed Olsen, Virginia Cooperative Extension consumer horticulture specialist and director of the Extension Master Gardener program, who sought the declaration. “Our pollinators support a vast array of plant life, which in turn provides food and habitat for countless insects, birds, mammals, and other animals. A decline in pollinators could disrupt this delicate balance of food webs.”

Here are a few ways to celebrate pollinator week

  • Plant a native plant. Native plants provide food and habitat for native species. Find the right native plant for your landscape using the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Virginia Native Plant Finder.
  • Help butterflies by providing a shallow, muddy puddle where they can get minerals. Fill a shallow dish with soil and a few rocks, place at ground level, and keep it moist.
  • Learn about moths. They are powerhouse pollinators. Survey the nocturnal moths that live in your yard by creating a moth trap. Simply hang up a white sheet, and when it gets dark, shine a bright light on it.
  • Implement an integrated pest management plan in your home garden. Instead of relying on insecticides at the first sign of damage, develop a plan that will help you evaluate if and when insecticides are necessary. See the Virginia Cooperative Extension publications “Reducing Pesticide Use in the Home Lawn and Garden” and “An Introduction to Integrated Pest Management

Many common food crops, such as blueberries or potatoes, rely on insects for pollination. Pollinators also are critical for the health of Virginia’s ecosystems by helping plants reproduce and fostering robust plant communities.

To support and protect Virginia’s pollinators, Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners are hard at work organizing educational events, installing demonstration gardens with native plants, and providing research-based advice to Virginians with gardening questions.

Interested in learning more about pollinators? Master Gardeners bring the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities – Virginia Tech and Virginia State University – to the people of the commonwealth. Contact your local Master Gardeners through your Extension office or learn more about gardening in Virginia and the Virginia Extension Master Gardener program.

By Devon Johnson

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