It’s officially summer and the parks are ABUZZ with pollinators.
Pollinators, like bees, are vital to the production of healthy crops for food, fibers, oils, medicines, and other products.. That’s why we’re celebrating National Pollinator Week!
Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa Genus)
Our Team for Healthy Parks crew member, Lauren, snapped this Carpenter Bee resting on Bottlebrush Buckeye.
Bees in the Xylocopa genus (carpenter bees) are often thought of as pests, due to their choice of nesting materials. But, they are also very important pollinators! Their short mouths allow them to pollinate open-faced and shallow flowers such as the Passionflower.
Carpenter bees are thought to be the most successful pollinator of this native vine and pollinate crops such as eggplants and many other vegetables.
Sweat Bees / Furrow Bees (Genus Halictus)
Bees come in all shapes and sizes – the bee you see in the second photo is in the genus Halictus, or “sweat bees”. But, did you know they are also vital pollinators?
Unlike other bees, they are a more generalist species and can pollinate a variety of plants from sunflowers to stone fruits (like peaches). This bee is on a Black-Eyed Susan in one of our pocket meadows at Cherokee Park.
But it’s not just bees! Beetles, flies, hoverflies, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, some rodents are all native pollinators.
Where to Find Pollinators in the Olmsted Parks
Our Team for Healthy Parks crew member Wilson captured these lovely pollinators in their element:
The Team for Healthy Parks has been hard at work restoring Meadows to support vital pollinators.
Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s Team For Healthy Parks has been hard at work restoring our meadows. Planted two years in Cherokee Park at the base of Baringer Hill, the restored meadow will provide habitat and food sources for animals and insects, reduce mowing areas, and sequester carbon. Similar meadows were planted last year in Algonquin and Iroquois Parks.
We often get asked how park users can make their own backyards friendlier for insects, wildlife, and the ecosystem at large – and drawing inspiration from (or even planting) a meadow is a great way to bring a bit of the park to your home.