By Deb Patterson
A workshop explaining pollinators was held Monday evening, June 22, at the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation Ruddell Pavilion, hosted by WACF, The Watershed Foundation and other partners. Approximately 45 people attended to hear a presentation by Brad Clayton, Clayton Garden Center, who is a watershed conservationist for TWF with a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science — crop science.
Clayton, in an approximate 60-minute presentation, provided information on the examples of pollinators, why pollination is important using examples of what the produce section and dairy section in a grocery store would look like without pollination and a look at bees in rural and urban settings.
Clayton’s presentation also included ways to help pollinators through plants, slow down mowing, use less mulch to allow habitat for ground bees and the effect of neonicotinoids — synthetic nicotine found in sprays. Additionally he provided statistics on the number of honey bee colonies, which are not considered native bees to the United States. It was also noted it would be impossible to count the number of native bees due to the large variety being discovered. The thousands of varieties of native bees, according to Clayton, do more pollinating than the honey bees.
The presentation ended with participants being able to choose six plants to be planted in 10-square foot gardens to assist pollinators. The plants included the blue gama, prairie dropsee, lavender hyssop, butterfly milkweed or whorled milkweed, Mexican hat and purple coneflower.
Each person also received a planning diagram for their six-pack.