This legislative session, I successfully championed legislation to designate the Rusty Patched Bumblebee as the State Bee in Minnesota. With pollinator habitats in jeopardy, this designation will raise awareness of their critical role in our food supply, and the steps we can take to protect them.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in an event honoring our new State Bee at the Dept. of Natural Resources’ booth at the Minnesota State Fair. Attendees received limited edition posters featuring the bumblebee.
DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen was on hand, as was John Jaschke, executive director of the state Board on Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), who discussed the “Lawns to Legumes” program, which helps homeowners promote pollinator habitats on their property. Dr. Elaine Evans of the University of Minnesota Bee Lab and Dr. Jessica Petersen, a pollinator expert at the DNR, led discussions about bees and how people can help pollinators. Fox 9 provided coverage of the event here.
To help pollinators, Minnesotans are encouraged to:
• Plant a variety of flowers, especially those that are native to your area.
• Keep your garden blooming all season long. Choose plants that provide pollen and nectar in the spring, summer and fall.
• Provide nesting sites by allowing dead branches and logs to remain, leaving bare earth for ground-nesting insects or installing bee nesting blocks.
• Reduce the use of pesticides.
• Become a citizen scientist and help researchers collect data about pollinators and their habitat.
• Tell friends and family about pollinators and inspire them to take action.
A full list of pollinator resources is available on the DNR website.
If you plan to visit the State Fair between now and Monday, here’s another reminder to visit the Minnesota House of Representatives booth inside the Education Building. Lawmakers are often available to chat, and you can take the annual 12 question opinion poll about various issues.
Have a great Labor Day weekend.
P.S.: My last e-mail update featured photography from Nik Gorski for which I omitted proper credit. Thank you, Nik!