Wildlife Society, Bee Protection Program Team Up
The Wildlife Society and the Feed a Bee program have teamed up to make and keep life sweet for honey bees.
Through a new partnership, The Wildlife Society is getting in on the buzz surrounding a bee and pollinator protection program.
“The Feed a Bee program is tackling a really important need for pollinators by conducting plantings across the nation this fall,” TWS CEO Ken Williams said in a press release. “At TWS, dedicated chapter members in each region are working now to identify the optimum mix of wildflower seeds to plant in each location to ensure pollinators have access to a wide variety of diverse nutrition sources when bloom occurs in the spring.”
The six-week forage tour—which will result in the planting of 50 million wildflower seeds at dedicated areas in Texas, Kansas, Illinois, and Florida—will involve TWS chapter members, as well as other Feed A Bee partners, and incorporate an educational session depending on the partners’ interest.
“We chose places across the United States because part of the education that we want to get out is that no matter what geographic region you’re in, pollinators are going to be important for you, and they’re needing a variety of foraging habitat for their diet no matter where they’re at,” North American Bayer Bee Care Program Project Manager Dr. Becky Langer told Associations Now.
TWS is responsible for reviewing the flowers to be planted to ensure they are native to the locations and would benefit the wildlife and ecosystems as a whole, in addition to pollinators.
At the first planting in Lubbock, Texas, partners and participants attended educational seminars, then planted native wildflowers by hand on a small patch of land. The same format will follow at the other three locations during November and December.
“Pollinators, including native bees, honey bees, and more, play an important role in agriculture and our ecosystem as a whole,” said Dr. Scott Longing, entomology professor at Texas Tech University Department of Plant and Soil Science and TWS chapter member, in the release. “By continuing to research ways to combat the challenges they face and planting additional forage in the meantime, we can help promote and protect pollinator health in a variety of ways.”
The forage tour is the first phase of the partnership between TWS and Feed a Bee that was announced in June. The two groups plan to deepen their partnership next year with another planting tour and increased educational components on pollinators for TWS members.
Langer said that forging partnerships with larger groups and small farmers has raised awareness of the importance of pollinators and provided Feed a Bee with greater community involvement, which are both instrumental in creating and preserving proper foraging habitats for pollinators.
“Every additional bit of forage planted helps pollinators, whether it’s next to a community garden, alongside cropland, or in a homeowner’s backyard,” she said in the statement. “We’re proud to work with TWS and our other fantastic Feed a Bee partners this fall for the first annual forage planting tour. By planting these wildflower seeds, we’re helping to sow a healthier spring for honey bees and other pollinators.”