This is pollinator week. July 21st – July 27th 2021 has been designated as a week to celebrate, learn about, and act to help our pollinators. My hope is by sharing some information about pollinator week, more people will see the need to take action in the field of conservation.
When I was in graduate school for a degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation, we were asked in one of our early courses if education is enough. Is learning and teaching about the environment enough? Or, does action have to accompany the education and learning. As a person who has always highly valued education, I thought long and hard about my answer to this question. It wasn’t just an off the cuff query by a professor, it was a question meant to stimulate our thinking about how we would become environmental educators. In other words, we needed to decide how we would perform in the field. Was educating the community enough? Or did we expect those we educated, as well as ourselves, to do something.
At first I thought – yes, education is enough. But, after doing some reading, I quickly changed my mind. Education is really NOT enough. One must learn and then do something with what is learned in order to make an impact. Education must be followed by action when it comes to the environment and conservation, in particular.
Again, it’s pollinator week. I write about pollinators on a regular basis. Much of the environmental education I provide to my community involves pollinators. I do ask for action in my lessons because people, whether it is an eight year old in garden club or a 50 year old Lion’s Club member, truly want to do something to help our environment. Monarchs are an iconic species and their population has experienced great decline in recent years. What can be done?
- Plant milkweed native to your area
- Plant nectar plants native to your area
- Eliminate or reduce pesticide use
- Attend a class on creating butterfly gardens
Other pollinators also need our help. Bees are essential to have sustainable food sources. Learn about what you can do to support bees in your area. And, then do it! There is a North American bee guide here, compliments of the Pollinator Partnership.
What will I be doing this week? On Friday, I will attend IMMP, or Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program, training. This is a program that trains every day citizens to go into the field and monitor monarch caterpillars, butterflies, and habitat. Detailed information is collected and submitted to scientists that will use it to determine what can be done to further help this species and prevent their further population decline. More can be read about the program in this 2019 article in the Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution Journal. I have been collecting and reporting data for Journey North (another citizen scientist site) for years and feel the IMMP training is an additional action I can take to help a species I love. The key to the IMMP data is that it is collected in the field, not in my home garden. I am ready and willing to take these extra steps.
So, I ask – what will YOU DO this week to help pollinators? And, is your action sustainable? I mean, can you KEEP DOING it? I’ve attached the Pollinator Partnership toolkit link. Maybe, it will give you some ideas. I am more convinced than ever that to be a true conservationist, action must follow education. For if you learn and do not act, you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
Today is Slice of Life Tuesday. Thank you to TwoWritingTeacher.org for creating and hosting such a supportive forum for bloggers, writers, and teachers.