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Celebrate Pollinators at “Bee Fest” this Saturday

by SLCgreen Intern Atticus Olmedo

Bee Fest is on June 15!

Pollinators: we need them! And this Saturday, June 15, you can join Catalyst Magazine, Wasatch Community Gardens, and Slow Food Utah to help celebrate pollinators at the 9th Annual Bee Fest.

The event, which kicks off Pollinator Week (June 17-23), will be abuzz with pollinator activities including poetry readings, bee-friendly craft projects, games, and even an all-ages costume contest. If you care about pollinators, you won’t want to miss Bee Fest!

We’ll be there tabling and discussing our Pesticide Free SLC campaign. Come by, say hi, and pick up your free yard sign to show your commitment to chemical-free yard care that supports pollinators (and our health and environment).

Pollinators’ Important Work

Pollinators, especially bees, are instrumental to plant growth. They impact everything from native Utah plant species to the food we eat. Indeed, without pollination, 1 in 3 foods would not spring into full fruition.

Pollination is no easy task. For the most part, it simply involves moving pollen grain from a plant to plant. However, pollination usually requires the help of a third-party actor. Wind and water are involved in the pollination process, a phenomena known as self-pollination.

Unusual pollinators include honey possums in Australia, black-and-white ruffed lemurs in Madagascar, and a large island gecko in New Zealand. Most pollinators are drawn to the energy-rich nectar that they find in flowers. Some of the best pollinators by far are insects.

Annually, the painted lady butterfly makes an appearance in the Salt Lake Valley. This year they arrived in abnormally large numbers due to cold weather in their migratory destinations from New Mexico to southern Mexico. Luckily, because of their body structure and lightness, it is unlikely that a sudden increase in butterflies would be adverse for the valley!

Pollinators in Decline

Despite the crucial role they play, bee populations are in decline. The impact on produce growth could be severe. Drops in bee populations diminish the number of perennials and annuals in gardens and threaten the food that we eat.

Reasons for the insects’ decline range from industrial agriculture, climate change, pesticide use and habitat loss. Indeed, habitat destruction is a main factor due to genetically modified crops that affects pollinators and their foraging activity as well as pollution

Pollinators do not have an easy relationship with pesticides. Well-meaning growers have long used sulfur-based pesticides to protect fields from unwanted pests. However, pesticides are dangerous to would-be pollinators and to children and pets.

Going pesticide free can help protect your garden and your family’s health. Take the Pesticide Free SLC pledge and learn how to use safer methods to achieve your landscaping goals.

Ultimately, declining bee populations damage the whole ecosystem.

See You At Bee Fest!

Luckily, there are many ways to help pollinators. You can learn more about protecting bees and other pollinators at Bee Fest!

Also check out the cool feature articles on pollinators from our friends at Catalyst Magazine.

Bee Fest is free and includes activities for the whole family!

Where: 622 W. 100 S. Green Team Farm (just west of The Gateway).

When: Saturday June 15th, 9am-2pm.

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