Category Archives: Botany

Apply early for seasonal jobs with USDA Forest Service

We're Hiring! Join our Summer, 2020 team! Seasonal positions are available in multiple fields, including fire, recreation, natural resources, timber, engineering, visitor services, and archaeology. Apply Sept. 16-30, 2019 on www.usajobs.gov. For more information about jobs in the Pacific Northwest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/main/r6/jobs.

PORTLAND, Ore. (Sept. 10, 2019)  The USDA Forest Service will accept applications for more than 1,000 seasonal spring and summer jobs in Oregon and Washington from Sept. 16 – 30, 2019.

Positions are available in multiple fields, including fire, recreation, natural resources, timber, engineering, visitor services, and archaeology.

Applications must be submitted on www.USAJOBS.gov between Sept. 16 – 30, 2019.

More information about seasonal employment, available positions, and application instructions can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/main/r6/jobs. Job descriptions, including a link to submit applications, will be posted to www.USAJOBS.gov on Sept. 16.

Interested applicants are encouraged to create a profile on USAJOBS in advance to save time once the hiring process begins.

“We’re looking for talented, diverse applicants to help us manage over 24 million acres of public land in the Pacific Northwest,” Glenn Casamassa, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester, said. “If you’re interested in caring for our national forests and serving local communities, I encourage you to apply.”

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

The Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region includes 17 National Forests, a National Scenic Area, a National Grassland, and two National Volcanic Monuments, all within the States of Oregon and Washington. These public lands provide timber for people, forage for cattle and wildlife, habitat for fish, plants, and animals, and some of the best recreation opportunity in the country.

News release in English, русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish):

Forest Service hiring. Temporary jobs. Apply on USAJobs.gov September 16-30, 2019. Recreation, forestry, wildlife, archaeology, engineering, hydrology, range, biology, firefighting, visitor information services, and more. The USDA Forest Service is hiring for seasonal jobs across the country. Temporary and seasonal jobs are a great way to gain experience, work outdoors, and explore different careers. #WorkForNature fs.fed.us/fsjobs

Source information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region public affairs (press release)

Forest Service fights noxious weeds in Central Oregon

Close-up of yellow-flowering branches of the Scotch Broom shrub, an invasive weed found throughout Washington and Oregon.

The U.S. Forest Service will treat more than 750 acres for invasive plants across Central Oregon this year that, if left untreated, could choke out native vegetation, livestock forage and wildlife habitat.

Natural resource managers for the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland have posted detailed plans and maps of the treatment areas to the websites for both the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests.

These plans have been released to ensure the public is aware of and has access to detailed information about the work to take place, including the reasons herbicide applications may be necessary, products which have been approved for use, and what efforts are being made to limit exposure to the minimum amount necessary to eradicate noxious weeds and protect surrounding watersheds and habitat.

Invasive species targeted for treatment include yellow flag iris, reed canary grass, diffuse, Russian and spotted knapweed, ribbongrass, ventenata, Medusahead rye, whitetop and Scotch thistle.

Often overlooked or unrecognized, these invasive weeds are a major threat to both public and private lands in Oregon. They reproduce quickly while displacing or altering native plant communities and they cause long-lasting ecological and economic problems.

Invasive plants increase fire hazards, degrade fish and wildlife habitat, displace native plants, impair water quality, and even degrade scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. They also reduce forage opportunities for livestock and wildlife.

A 2014 study by the Oregon Department of Agriculture found that invasive weeds cost Oregon’s economy $83.5 million annually.

Planned treatments will take place along roads, at rock quarry sites, within recent wildfires and other highly-disturbed areas.

For 2019 invasive weed treatment plans and a map of planned treatment sites on the Ochoco National Forest and Deschutes National Forest, see this document.

Implementation will be carried out by the Forest Service and a number of government and non-profit partners throughout Central Oregon. Work will follow the design features in the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland Record of Decision for the 2012 Invasive Plant treatment project.

Forest Service land managers employ an Early Detection / Rapid Response (EDRR) strategy for mapping and treating invasive infestations. EDRR increases the chances of successfully restoring invasive plant sites by treating new infestations before they become large, thereby reducing the time and cost associated with treatment and the potential ecological damage.

More Information: 2019_Invasive_Plant_Treatments.pdf

Download a brochure of the “Top Invasive Plants of the Crooked River Basin” on the Ochoco National Forest website, at: www.fs.usda.gov/ochoco.

To learn more about the threat of invasive weeds and how you can help prevent them, visit www.playcleango.org


Source information: Deschutes National Forest (press release)

Researching ‘birds and bees’ for conifer trees

Douglas fir cone "flowers," Technically, Douglas-fir are not flowering plants, but its young female cones, shown here, are often referred to as “ flowers.” Genetic variation yields “ flowers” of various hues; it also influences the timing of flowering in different populations. Knowing when Douglas-fir are going to flower helps seed orchards have staff ready for the labor-intensive pollination process that yields high-quality Douglas-fir seeds. USDA Forest Service photo by Janet Prevey.

“Timing is everything, especially when it comes to tree sex.”

In the latest Science Findings, researchers from the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Research Station delve into nature versus nurture in conifer reproduction.

To successfully reproduce, conifers, or cone-bearing trees, must have impeccable timing to open their female cones just as pollen is being released from from the male cones of nearby trees.

This timing is a response to temperature and other environmental cues. It is to the tree’s advantage to flower when risk of damaging frost is low, but early enough in the spring to take full advantage of the growing season.

Since Douglas-fir is ecologically important and the cornerstone of Pacific Northwest’s timber industry, seed orchard managers carefully breed different populations of the species to produce seedlings that will thrive in particular areas in need of replanting.

Understanding the environmental cues that influence the timing of flowering is important for predicting how reproduction and survival of trees will change in the future.

To address this need, a team of researchers with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station developed a model that predicts, within an average of 5 days, when Douglas-fir will flower – which seed orchard managers are already using to plan and schedule time-sensitive tasks related to flowering in the orchards.

Read more in Science Findings #216, available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/58039 (click “view PDF”), or navigate directly to the PDF publication at https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/sciencef/scifi216.pdf.

Past editions of Science Findings are available here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/

To subscribe to Science Findings and other publications from the Pacific Northwest Research Station, click here.


Source information: Josh McDaniel is a science writer based in Colorado. Research by Janet S. Prevey, research ecologist, Connie Harrington, research forester and Brad St. Clair, research geneticist at the Pacific Northwest Research Station. Science Findings is a publication of the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Dog Mountain weekend hiker permits return to CRGNSA for peak season

The view facing west over the Columbia River from Dog Mountain Trail (Forest Service trail #147) in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area May 19, 2017. USDA Forest Service photo.

STEVENSON, Wash. (March 1, 2019) – For the second year, the USDA Forest Service requires permits for visitors interested in hiking Dog Mountain on weekends during peak wildflower season, which began in mid-April and continues through June 16, 2019.

Visitors can obtain permits one of two ways:

Visitors who board the Skamania County West End Transit bus at Skamania Fairgrounds in Stevenson will receive a free permit on arrival at Dog Mountain Trailhead. The shuttle ride costs $1 per person, per trip ($2 round-trip), and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each permit is good for one individual, on the day it is issued. The shuttle runs every half hour, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through June 16.

Visitors interested in reserving a permit online can submit their request at www.recreation.gov. Dog Mountain hiking permits are offered at no cost, but a $1 per person administrative fee is charged for processing. Visitors parking a vehicle at Dog Mountain Trailhead will also need to pay the recreation site fee of $5 per car for use of the parking area, or present a valid Northwest Forest or interagency federal pass in lieu of the day-use parking permit. Only 250 reservable permits per peak season weekend day are available to limit congestion. Online permits do not guarantee a parking spot, so visitors are encouraged to carpool (or check-out the weekend shuttle service from Skamania Fairgrounds).

The permits are required as part of a partnership between Washington State Department of Transportation, Skamania County, and the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce to protect public safety. The permit program began in 2018, in response to growing safety concerns about congestion and accidents near the Dog Mountain Trailhead.

“Last year’s program was highly successful,” Lynn Burditt, area manager for Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, said, “In fact, many people said they hiked Dog Mountain for the first time last year, because they didn’t have to wake up early to beat crowds into the parking lot.”

Permits will be required for all visitors to the Dog Mountain trail system on Saturdays and Sundays through peak wildflower season (this year, defined as April 20 to June 16), as a measure to prevent congestion at the trailhead by encouraging visitors to take a shuttle.

“We made a few improvements this year – there are more permits available per day, and the administrative fee for online reservations is down to $1 from last year’s cost of $1.50, thanks to a new service provider,” Lorelei Haukness, recreation planner for the scenic area, said.

Dog Mountain Trail System includes both forks of Dog Mountain Trail (#147 and #147C), Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail #147A, and the lower portion of Augspurger Trail #4407.

Each hiker should carry a printed permit or electronic copy of their permit, as Forest Service employees will check for permits at the trailhead.

Back again this year, several businesses in Stevenson will offer discounts to shuttle riders — including Walking Man Brewing, Big River Grill, North Bank Books, Columbia Hardware, and Bits n’ Spurs. Visit Skamania County Chamber of Commerce in Stevenson to learn more about area businesses that are participating.

For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/crgnsa/hikedogmountain or call (541)308-1700.

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres of Washington and Oregon, where the Columbia River cuts a spectacular river canyon through the Cascade Mountains. The USDA Forest Service manages National Forest lands in the National Scenic Area and works with the Gorge Commission, states, counties, treaty tribes, and partners to protect and enhance scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge while encouraging local economic development consistent with that protection.

Learn more about Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area at www.fs.usda.gov/crgnsa or follow CRGNSA on social media at facebook.com/crgnsa or www.twitter.com/crgnsa.


Source information: The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (press release).

Mushrooms: Tips for sustainable harvests on National Forest lands

The fungus Morchella angusticeps Peck (Black morels). Photographed in Peace River Area, British Columbia, Canada. Courtesy photo by Johannes Harnisch, used with permission in accordance with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-SA 3.0). All other rights reserved.

Mushroom hunting is a hobby for some, and a business opportunity for others. To ensure that mushroom hunting can continue for years to come, land managers must ensure those harvests happen at a sustainable pace.

That’s why the USDA Forest Service requires permits for both commercial and hobbyist mushroom hunters before collecting mushrooms from National Forest System lands.

What permits are required, and how many are available, varies because conditions on forests vary. Even within a single forest, one species of mushroom may be plentiful, while another species must be managed more closely to ensure enough are left for others, and for wildlife.

On many Pacific Northwest forests, a limited quantity of mushrooms can be collected for personal use with a “free use” permit. These permits are issued at no cost to the user, but the permit requirement helps land managers to track harvest activity and monitor conditions in the areas.

Commercial permits allow for larger harvests, and for resale of mushrooms collected on public lands. These permits which are typically more closely managed to reduce the chance of potential land-use conflicts with other commercial users and recreational visitors.

Additional info:

Find information about spring, 2019 mushroom season permit requirements in the Blue Mountains (Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests) at this link:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/malheur/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD627924

For information about spring, 2019 mushroom season permits on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, visit:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/okawen/passes-permits/?cid=STELPRDB5415105&width=full

If you have questions about permit requirements for other National Forests, reach out to the district office or visitors center that serves the area you are interested in hunting mushrooms on. You can find links to websites for all National Forests in Washington and Oregon at
https://www.fs.usda.gov/contactus/r6/about-region/contactus

Resources:

If you’re interested in mushroom hunting as a hobby, your local mycological society can be a great resource. You’ll want to learn what mushrooms are safe to eat, which aren’t, and what rules apply to harvesting in the areas where you’ll be hunting. Never eat a mushroom that you cannot positively identify – many poisonous mushrooms closely resemble species that are safe to eat!

Mycological Societies & Mushroom Club websites serving Washington & Oregon:

North American Mycological Society:
https://www.namyco.org/clubs.php

Oregon Mycological Society:
https://www.wildmushrooms.org/

Willamette Valley Mushroom Society:
https://www.wvmssalem.org/

Cascade Mycological Society:
https://cascademyco.org/

Southwest Washington Mycological Society:
http://swmushrooms.org/

Northwest Mushroomers Association:
https://www.northwestmushroomers.org/

Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society:
https://kitsapmushrooms.org/

Snohomish County Mycological Society:
http://www.scmsfungi.org/

Olympic Peninsula Mycological Society:
https://olymushroom.org/

Cascade Mycological Society:
https://cascademyco.org/resources-2/

Puget Sound Mycological Society:
https://www.psms.org/links.php

South Sound Mushroom Club:
https://www.southsoundmushroomclub.com/

Yakima Valley Mushroom Society:
http://www.yvms.org/


Source information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region staff

Matsutake mushroom season opens on Central Oregon forests

matsutake mushroom cap grows on a forest floor

BEND, Ore. – Aug. 28, 2018 – Matsutake mushroom commercial season opens immediately following Labor Day weekend on four National Forests in central Oregon.

This year’s commercial season for Matsutake mushrooms on the Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, and Willamette National Forests is Sept. 4 through Nov. 4, 2018.

Permits for the 62-day commercial season will cost $200. Half-season permits, valid for 31 consecutive days, will be $100, and day permits will be $8 per day with a three-day minimum purchase (picking days do not need to be consecutive).

The permits are valid on all four Central Oregon forests, and is required for all gathering of Matsutake mushrooms for re-sale.

Harvesters must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid ID in order to purchase a permit. Permits will be available at ranger district offices on the forests during regular business hours.

Each purchase of a permit will include an informational synopsis and map. The map shows areas open to harvest. The permit is NOT valid on state or private property.

Areas closed to harvest include Crater Lake National Park, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, and Research Natural Areas, Wilderness areas, Oregon Cascades Recreation Area (OCRA), campgrounds, and other posted closed areas.

The Forest Service requires commercial harvesters to have written permission from the agency to camp on any National Forest, except in designated camping areas.

Ranger District office locations:

Camping:

A campground for harvesters has been established at Little Odell Mushroom Camp near Crescent Lake, Ore. Hoodoo Recreation Services will manage the camp. The per-person rate for camping is $125 for the full two month season, $75 for a half-season and $40 per week. Site occupancy allows up to 8 persons and 2 vehicles. Water, garbage, and toilet services are provided. The camp will open on September 4, 2018. For more information about rates or services at Little Odell Mushroom Camp you can contact Hoodoo at 541-338-7869 or www.hoodoo.com.

Fire Safety:

Mushroom harvesters are reminded that Public Use Restrictions are in effect and must be followed due to VERY HIGH or EXTREME fire danger within the Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, Deschutes, and the Willamette National Forests. Harvesters should call the numbers listed for more information on site specific public use restrictions.

For more information about the Matsutake mushroom program, contact:

  • Fremont-Winema National Forest (Chemult Ranger District): (541) 365-7001,
  • Deschutes National Forest (Crescent Ranger District): (541) 433-3200,
  • Umpqua National Forest: (541) 957-3200
  • Willamette National Forest: 541-225-6300

Source information: Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua and Willamette National Forest Matsutake Mushroom program (joint press release)

‘Wild Spotter’ pilot seeks citizen scientists to track invasive species

Two forest service employees speak with women at the corner of a viewing platform

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Aug. 14, 2018 – Calling all citizen scientists! Download the free Wild Spotter mobile app and help the USDA Forest Service identify, map, and report invasive species found in your favorite wild places, including the Pacific Northwest’s Siuslaw National Forest and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest!

Through a collaboration with more than 20 partners, the University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, and the organization Wildlife Forever, are working with 12 National Forests and Grasslands across the United States as part of a pilot program to gather important data on invasive species and how they are impacting wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, and other natural areas.

red-pink wildflowers dot foliage at the end of a lake, with evergreens along the far shore.

Wildflowers dot the edge of Red Mountain Lake on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest July 2, 2007. USDA Forest Service photo by C. Christensen.

The Wild Spotter citizen science program provides tools to help locate, quantify, map, and report invasive species infestations in a simple and effective manner, while raising public awareness about invasive species and promoting collaborations across the landscape.

“We are happy to be part of the Wild Spotter program and to offer the public a way to enjoy their national forest while helping us gather information on the locations of invasive species,” Angela Elam, Siuslaw National Forest forest supervisor, said.

There are 15 invasive species identified on the Siuslaw National forest in the Wild Spotter app, and 54 identified invasive species for the Wallowa-Whitman forest.

A coastal ridge slopes down to meet the ocean

Cape Perpetua tidal pools and trail, Siuslaw National Forest; June 15, 2011. USDA Forest Service photo.

Once a Wild Spotter volunteer identifies and reports a species, the data is verified by experts and then made publicly available through a networked invasive species inventory database hosted by the University of Georgia.

The database will be the first nationwide inventory of invasive species in America’s natural areas.

“Invasive plants, pathogens, and animals can threaten recreational activities, productivity, and ecosystem health. This tool will help the forest to implement better strategies for prevention, control, and eradication,” Elam said.

The Wild Spotter app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and can be used even from locations where a cell phone signal is not available.

For more information, visit www.wildspotter.org.


Source information: Siuslaw National Forest staff

Going swimmingly: Mt. Hood fish stream restoration update

A forest stream flows through a rocky streambed, past fallen logs,.

Between 2012 and 2017, the Mt. Hood National Forest and its partners performed extensive restoration work within the Still Creek watershed that flows nearby the Zigzag Ranger District. Restoring the health of Still Creek watershed is vital to recover healthy populations of threatened and endangered fish such as Coho salmon and steelhead among other wildlife species that are listed as “species of concern” tied to the Endangered Species Act.

“Still Creek has been identified as being one of the best areas for us to focus our efforts around Mt. Hood National Forest due to its historical populations of these important fish species,” Greg Wanner, Fish Biologist for the Mt. Hood National Forest, said. “The watershed health with potential to provide a lot of stream diversity also made it a prime candidate for our work.”

Total investments in the watershed amounted to nearly $2.2 million dollars and have resulted in significant improvements in habitat quality, water quality, and ecosystem function.

The project was driven by a few key goals: 1) restoring natural watershed processes and removal of invasive plants, 2) improving water quality in terms of temperature, and sediment reduction, 3) providing educational opportunities for nearby communities, 4) providing jobs to contractors and the local fishing industry, and 5) strengthening relationships between partnering organizations and private landowners.

A man wearing waders spreads his arms apart while standing on a pile of large diameter wood logs above a stream bed.

Greg Wanner demonstrates how a stream will spread out into the flood plain during the winter’s high water events with the addition of large wood – downed tree trunks and branches – in this still image from a 2013 video about the Still Creek fish stream restoration project. USDA Forest Service image..

Over the last several decades our understanding of what it means to have a healthy watershed has changed drastically. As recently as the early 90’s scientists and engineers believed that the best way of producing healthy fish populations was to channelize streams by removing boulders and large wood structures like logjams and generally straightening rivers wherever possible. The urgency for this work was also spurred by flooding events where cabins along streams near Mt. Hood specifically were damaged by high water levels.

The thinking back then was that if the water flowed faster, more water cold pass through the same space thus decreasing the possibility of water levels rising and at the same time, helping anadromous fish — fish that migrate to the ocean and then return to spawn — reach the ocean. Sadly, best intentions don’t always pan out the way we wish they did.

The streams in Mt. Hood’s watersheds saw a near total collapse of fish bearing stream habitats following the channelization. What fish biologists and other scientists soon realized was that the slower moving waters off the main channels of streams were vital places for fish to rest and feed. They further discovered that large woody structures helped create these slower water by spreading out the floodplains and provided important food sources for juvenile fish.

“The large woody debris structures are so important since they provide for juvenile fish places to rest and great food sources in insects in the slower moving waters,” Wanner said.

So, Mt. Hood biologists have been bringing back the logs and boulders and adding diversity back in the streams’ construction. Over the last five years, biologists have successfully restored 8 miles of stream along Still Creek and 185 acres of essential floodplain habitat.

In addition, the forest has successfully:

  • Built 240 logjams throughout the main channel of Still Creek.
  • Reconnected 6.5 miles of side channels to the main channel.
  • Rehabilitated 19 dispersed camp sites to help reduce contamination and sedimentation.
  • And removed barriers, like failing culverts, on over 3 miles of habitat for migratory fish.

But this story of success includes more players than just Forest Service biologists. Since 1999, the Sandy River Basin Partnership (SRBP), originally consisting of the City of Portland, Portland General Electric (PGE), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), has played a huge role in making this restoration work a reality. Since its conception, SRBP now has 14 active partners.

With such a daunting task as restoring potentially tens of thousands of acres of watershed, SRBP decided to focus first on sections of stream that have historically supported salmon and steelhead populations from a variety of life stages and that have fairly well-connected river networks. Still Creek was identified as being a great location to restore stream habitat for Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, and winter steelhead.

“This work would not be possible without the vital partnership of so many nonprofit, state, and federal organizations,” Wanner said. “More than just providing funding, these partners have been pivotal in providing insights and legwork that has led to a much better project than we could have ever hoped for if we had worked alone just within our agency.”

The restoration efforts in adding large woody debris, boulder placement and stream diversification will continue to bring rich dividends for decades to come but restored spawning grounds for these threatened fish have already started to see increased use from these fish species.

Salmon and steelhead are important to the entire river ecosystem. They recycle nutrients back into the streams after they spawn, which shows the intricate interdependence of ecosystems. As this stream restoration effort continues, expanding to other areas beyond Still Creek, the Mt. Hood National Forest looks forward to continuing their partnership with the Sandy River Basin Partners in the hopes of assisting these vital fish species to continue to thrive.

Greg Wanner explains more about restoring salmon and steelhead habitat on Mt. Hood National Forest in the 2013 video, “Jumpstarting Fish Habitat: The Story of Still Creek,” at https://youtu.be/JmN86_Nrkp8.


SOURCE INFORMATION: Chris Bentley is the Website and Social Media manager for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s Office of Communication and Community Engagement.

In the News: Eagle Creek fire, then & now

a batch of green is visible between two waterfalls in a valley below a burned forest ridgeline.

National Pollinator Week June 18-24

Two bees at the center of a yellow flower

It’s Pollinator Week! In 2018, the annual celebration of pollinators and their contributions to sustaining biodiversity, habitat and agriculture is observed June 18-24. Since 2010, this week has been a time to celebrate the contributions pollinators make to our nation, supported by official proclamations from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, U.S. Dept. of Interior, and governors of many states.

Around the world, pollinators are declining due to factors that threaten all biodiversity. Loss of habitat is the principal reason, followed by improper use of pesticides, pollution, and invasive species.

Policymakers, natural resource managers, private landowners, and others want to make informed decisions that consider the needs of pollinators. Consumers can choose products that have been produced in a pollinator-friendly manner. Educators can emphasize the importance of pollinators; teach about their life histories; and instill an appreciation for the essential role played by pollinators in living systems.

Everyone’s future flies on the wings of our pollinators.

To learn more about Pollinator Week (and the Pollinator Partnership), visit: http://pollinator.org/pollinator-week.

***

What is Pollination?

Pollination allows for plants to reproduce. Much like the animal kingdom, plants have male and female parts and need to transfer genes from one to the other to create seeds for the next generation of plants. The only way this can happen is when pollen grains from the anther (male) of the flower are transferred to a stigma (female).

Some plants are able to self-pollinate—meaning that they don’t need any help from an animal pollinator to reproduce. Others can be pollinated by wind that carries pollen grains from flower to flower. About 80 percent of all flowering plants, and three-quarters of the staple crops that are grown for human consumption rely on animal pollinators.

There are a number of animal pollinators. The most recognizable pollinators are probably bees, but everything from ants and beetles to bats and birds can help pollinate.

More information:

 

Did you know?

  • 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat are thanks to animal pollinators.
  • Almost 90% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for fertilization.
  • About 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals such as mice. The rest are insects like beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies and moths.
  • National forests and grasslands provide valuable migration habitat for the pollinators that allow everything from wildflowers to agricultural crops to thrive.
  • The USDA supports programs that help find homes for pollinators.
  • Honeybees are the most prolific animal pollinator—but pollinators range from insects like butterflies, wasps and ants, to mammals like bats, and even birds.
  • Pollinator populations, especially honeybees, have seen sharp declines in recent decades—there were about 6 million honeybee hives in the U.S. in 1940; that has declined to about 2.5 million today. Now more than ever, pollinators need habitat to keep our ecosystems and agricultural economy strong.
  • Pollinators play a key role in feeding American families and supporting the American economy. Pollinators contribute $15 billion annually to farm income in the U.S.
  • Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Crops like almonds, apples, blueberries, melons, squash, even oranges and avocados are heavily reliant upon pollinators to reproduce and thrive.
  • The USDA Forest Service is a key agency in restoring degraded lands for pollinators and other wildlife, through the planting of native wildflowers that help connect birds, bees and other pollinating insects across the American landscape.

Suggested activities:

  • Plant a pollinator garden. Check out:
    http://www.kidsgardening.com/growingideas/projects/jan03/pg1.html. for gardening instructions, and for educational and curriculum
    resources.
  • Reduce chemical misuse. Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce
    damage to your plants and to protect pollinators by using less chemicals. You could
    intersperse food plants, like tomatoes, with inedible plants like marigolds. Marigolds are known to attract pest insects away from food plants. Learn more about IPM and gardening at: http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/homegarden/garden.html.
  • Limit lawn grass. Grass lawns offer little food or shelter for most
    wildlife, including pollinators. You can replace grass with a wild meadow or prairie
    plants. For a neater look, make a perennial border with native plants. Plants native
    to your area are adapted to your soil type, climate, precipitation, and local pollinators! You can get a list of plants native to your area at: http://www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat/nativeplants.cfm 
  • Provide water. All wildlife, including pollinators, need water. Some butterfly species sip water from muddy puddles to quench their thirst and get important minerals. You can provide water in a birdbath or even a shallow dish placed on the ground. Pile small stones or glass florist beads in the water so the pollinators can crouch low and sip from the surface of the water without falling into the water.
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