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News: National Pollinator Week June 17-23


June 11, 2019

The GCA Takes Action!

National Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and take action to protect them. There has been an alarming decline in the number of pollinators in recent decades — through chemicals, diseases, mites, loss of habitat, and global climate change — and it has international repercussions. The GCA Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship was established in spring 2013 to facilitate independent research in this field. One-third of the food we eat has been fertilized by pollinators.

The U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” in 2006 marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles. Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by Pollinator Partnership.

Here are a few of the GCA’s recent recipients of the Pollinator Fellowship:

Kristen M. Lear is a PhD candidate in integrative conservation at the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Her project, “Assessing and Developing Critical Foraging Habitat for an Endangered Pollinating Bat,” focuses on conservation of the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis), a key pollinator in US and Mexican ecosystems. Lear will use an interdisciplinary approach that combines the natural and social sciences to investigate the bats’ foraging ecology and understand how to develop and implement programs that restore critical foraging habitat in northeastern Mexico. Her research will directly inform on-the-ground conservation efforts for the species.

Pamela Blackmore is a masters student in landscape architecture at Kansas State University. Her project, “Butterflies, Tallgrass Prairie, and Green Roofs,” evaluates the butterfly communities of two urban green roofs planted with native prairie vegetation compared to nearby urban native prairie and protected tallgrass prairie sites. Since urbanization is a driver of habitat loss, it is essential to understand how habitat for pollinator communities in cities can be improved. One potential solution is to use green roofs and other green infrastructure to make cities more hospitable to pollinators.

Kristen Birdshire is an environmental sciences masters student at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research, titled “Influences on Wild Bee Richness and Abundance Along an Urban-Rural Gradient,” focuses on native and exotic bees in a dry montane climate. Her study seeks not only to determine these population metrics along the slope, but also to determine each bee species’ physiological and ecological characteristics in terms of its ability to promote or undermine survival in the urban landscape. Ultimately Birdshire’s research will identify ways to enhance bee populations and pollination in Denver’s city center.



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