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Pollinator Party Introduces Laramie Citizens to Local Bees, Butterflies


June 11, 2013 — Laramie residents can learn about the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds that pollinate local vegetable gardens, flowering trees and prairies.

The University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute will host a pollinator party Monday, June 17, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in LaBonte Park. The free, interactive party will allow children and adults to catch insects, identify the species, watch what plants they visit and learn how to attract them to their yards.

The pollinator party will kick off Pollinator Awareness Week June 17-23, a national event geared toward increasing the visibility and appreciation of pollinators.

Pollinators are a group of organisms (bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, flies, beetles and others) that are critical to the process of plant reproduction, fruit and vegetable production and, in many cases, agricultural success. Crops such as alfalfa, sugar beets, sunflowers, beans and potatoes are entirely or largely reliant on insects for a successful yield. Domestic gardens, which citizens across Wyoming use to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables for consumption, cannot produce without pollinators.

"Pollinator populations across the world are in decline, for many reasons known and unknown,” says Brenna Marsicek, Biodiversity Institute project coordinator. “For example, land use change that results in fewer flowers providing nectar and pollen, and undisturbed vegetated areas that provide shelter, are likely a major cause. The good news is that Wyoming citizens can help fix this problem in their yards and towns."

Party participants will learn what types of pollinators are found around Laramie, and how to provide food and shelter for them in their yards. There also is opportunity for participants to engage in science activities by learning how to identify pollinator species and submitting sightings of pollinators to an online database. The database collects all observation information and fills in information gaps that are critical to understanding Wyoming pollinators.

Partners for this event include UW Dillon Lab (Department of Zoology/Physiology), Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, U.S. Forest Service, Laramie Rivers Conservation District and UW Extension.

The UW Biodiversity Institute is a division of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. The Institute works to foster the understanding, appreciation and conservation of biological diversity through innovative research, education and outreach, and by engaging a broad audience in the scientific process.

For more information, contact Marsicek at brenna.marsicek@uwyo.edu or (307) 766-6240.

Photo:
Bumble bees are critical native pollinators in Wyoming. (Biodiversity Institute)

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