Posted by: cindydyer | November 1, 2013

Learning about food chain restoration for pollinators

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 7.14.24 AMNorth American Pollinator Protection Campaign speaker Gary Nabhan, Ph.D, Kellogg, Endowed Chair in Food and Water Security at the University of Arizona, spoke about Curbing the Extinction of Relationships: Pollinator Diversity and Climate Adaptation at a conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.

Photo at right: Apache red corn, Native Seed/SEARCH

There is a relationship between native corn species and wind blown pollen that allows monarch butterflies to live safety in hedge rows in and around corn fields. Native corn can survive drought where hybrid or GMO corn might not survive as well. Non native corn that has had its cells changed due to GMO will have toxic pollen harmful to larvae of both good and bad bugs. The Midwest region has been proven to have less diversity of pollinators due in part to this reason.

We need to start to look at diversity of crops and pollinators as a interconnected link in the Web of Life. Climate adaptation will alter what food crops might grow successfully in the United States. The best chance of crop survival is to grow local native crops that are offer diversity. Stick to native crops. Order seed from organic seed supplies including, Native Seed/SEARCH, Seed Savers Exchange and Native Seed, to name a few. You’ll be surprised with what pollinators will come. Have fun learning!

Stephen Buchmann, Scientist at Large, Pollinator Partnership & University of Arizona, gave a briefing on New Findings in Buzz Pollination. Buchmann received a National Science Grant and does research on buzzing bees. So far he has counted 62 buzzing bee species.

This is exciting research. I loved buzzing bumble bees in spring when newly-emerged queens visited the early flowering bushes in my former gardens in Minong, WI. Buchman is presently writing a book with a working title The Reasons for Flowers. I can’t wait to read the book! I just ordered the children’s book, The Bee Tree. by Buchmann. I will read it and give the book to my nephew for Christmas. I’ll also recommend this book to the Fitchburg Public Library.

Buchmann was Chief Scientist on Disney’s film Wings of Life. This film is extraordinary in capturing the closeup life of winged pollinators. I showed the film at First Parish, UU, Fitchburg, MA. Fifteen people sat in the audience and I could hear the response of awe over and over again. The film needs to be circulated to science departments at middle and high schools, colleges, universities, garden clubs, butterfly organizations, public libraries, and distributed far and wide. Fitchburg Public Library already has the film for the public to borrow.

Once people see the intimate relationship between beguiling flowers and pollinators they will never misunderstand the absolute importance that pollinators play in the Web of Life.

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