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Pollinator week promotes education on creatures' importance, need for natural habitat

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 19:28:12-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — This week is National Pollinator Week as well as Nebraska Pollinator Week. It's a time to learn more about the importance of our local pollinators and ways we can help keep them around.

One in every three bites of food depends on a pollinator, and while Nebraska does produce a lot of food, educators with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission say some agricultural practices have actually endangered some pollinators’ natural habitats like the tall grass prairie.

“A lot of animals that are found in those tall grass prairie regions are not found anywhere else in Nebraska or anywhere else in the world," said Monica Macoubrie, an education specialist with the commission.

While the prairie lands are getting smaller, the state is making efforts to ensure the pollinators have a home.

“Like our Platte River State Park and Mahoney State Park, those are great places to find things like native pollinators or those native animals," Macoubrie said. "So those are protected areas.”

And individuals can also provide pollinators with native plants, something Lauritzen Gardens is teaching by example.

“We’re trying to move our practices to more pollinator friendly practices which means less chemicals , growing more regionally native plants," said Victoria Schoell-Schafer, the gardens' senior director of horticulture.

And the gardens are making it easy to know just what kind of plants are going to bring out those bees, butterflies, birds, bats and more. They’ve even created a scavenger hunt to teach younger gardeners about pollinators.

“They’ve created these creatures that you can come across, and we have maps that you can check off," said Mia Jenkins, the gardens' director of marketing. "And if you prefer not to touch anything, you can also download it from the website and check it off on your phone as you traverse.”

You can find more about Nebraska Pollinator Week including virtual lessons from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission here.

Tickets for Lauritzen Gardens can be purchased here. Right now the garden is requiring time reserved tickets, and are opening up at 11 am.