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Pollinator Project Using WHIP

Kent and Jane Gay Carvell of Giles County used the NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program to establish wildflowers to attract pollinators. Chip Rose, Giles County Soil Conservation District Technician assisted the Carvells with the project. The field was sown with a pollinator mix for upland sites using a No-till Drill rented from the Giles County Soil Conservation District.

Chip Rose in Carvell Pollinator FieldThe Carvell’s field was planted approximately 1 year ago; today their field is alive with color with Lance-Leaved Coreopsis blooming.  The mix also had four types of coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, Corn Poppy, Partridge Pea and a mixture of short Native grasses that will gradually show up later in the season.

More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, birds, beetles, bats, and a few other small mammals to reproduce. Most fruit, vegetable and seed crops are pollinated by animals.

But pollinators are in trouble. Many are seeing decreasing populations because of habitat loss, disease, parasites and pesticide use.

Pollinators provide crucial assistance to fruit, vegetable and seed crops as well as other plants that produce fiber, medicine and fuel. For many plants, without the help of pollinators, they would be unable to reproduce.

While many pollinators are in trouble, you can help. It can be as easy as selecting high-quality pollinator plants for your garden. To find the best plants for your area, visit the websites of NRCS partners at the Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Program or Pollinator Partnership.

If you operate a farm or ranch, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service can help you create habitat for pollinators. This not only benefits pollinators, but also provides ample perks for the farmers and ranchers, too. More pollinators – native and managed – can increase crop yields.

Native pollinators are free, and their numbers can be increased by planting wildflowers in and around fields and choosing the right cover crops. NRCS offers more than three dozen conservation practices that assist in building healthier landscapes for pollinators.

Habitats used by pollinators also attract beneficial insects (insects that eat crop pests), and they may provide habitat for other wildlife, reduce soil erosion, and improve water quality. As you can see, pollinators and healthy habitat for pollinators help keep the ecosystem healthy. In fact, if you are putting in conservation practices to prevent soil erosion or protect stream banks, consider including wildflowers, shrubs and trees that support pollinators.

Learn more about how farmers and ranchers are doing their part to aid pollinators: www.nrcs.usda.gov/pollinators.