Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Bees Please? Join the Great Sunflower Project!

Bees are some of our most important garden friends. While most people want to avoid bees (and their stingers) I am going to urge you to invite bees to share your garden. Bees are some of the most important pollinators (they pollinate 90% of our flowering crops) and without them, we would not have many of the fruits and vegetables that we enjoy. Without pollination, most plants do not reproduce, which means that they do not produce fruit.... and no fruit means nothing for us to eat.
In recent years, bee populations have been drastically declining..... and no one is sure exactly why. Maybe it is the over-abundance of pesticides, maybe it is genetically modified crops, maybe vast stretches of monoculture (think corn) or maybe it is cell phone use or a combination of these factors. Figuring out what is killing the bees could be vital in figuring out how to save them. And trust me, this is one bug we definitely want to save.
Want to do your part in saving bees? The best thing yo can do is plant a bee-loving habitat in your yard and invite the bees to come. To find out the best plants in your area to attract bees, consult your local nursery or do some research online. A great source for information is Berkley's Urban Bee Garden web page. They have loads of information of the importance of bees, bee-friendly gardens, and other random tidbits about these fuzzy little friends.
You can also join the Great Sunflower Project. Sign up online for next summer's planting. You will get a packet of sunflower seeds in the mail and you and thousands of other participants will be tracking bee activity in your yard. This way, scientists can have data on where bees are flourishing and where they are not, and can try and relate bee populations to environmental factors. You can be part of bee-saving research!
If you are bee-brave, you can also consider building bee habitat in your yard. Check with your local nursery to see what types of bees are native in your area and find out what habitat suits them. For many bees (not honeybees), a piece of wood with holes drilled in it works just fine. For those of you in the Portland area (or anywhere else that Mason bees are native) , check out this great information sheet on Mason Bees from Portland Nursery.
Bee Happy! Pin It Now!

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