Agassiz Audubon and the Middle Snake Tamarac Rivers Watershed District are recruiting volunteers (15 years old and older) to help plant the new NW Minnesota Pollinator Garden on Saturday, June 20 beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers will be weeding, planting new plants, edging and spreading mulch. No experience necessary.

    Agassiz Audubon and the Middle Snake Tamarac Rivers Watershed District are recruiting volunteers (15 years old and older) to help plant the new NW Minnesota Pollinator Garden on Saturday, June 20 beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers will be weeding, planting new plants, edging and spreading mulch.  No experience necessary.   

     Bring garden gloves and hand tools if you have them - and wear closed shoes.  Depending on weather, it may be muddy and/or wet.

    Call or email to register: AgassizAudubon@gmail.com or 218-745-5663.

    The Agassiz Audubon Center is located at 27569 190th Street NW in rural Warren. It’s a half-mile east of the intersection of 190th St. NW and 280th Ave. NW.
 
Why pollinators are important

    Bees and other insects pollinate a wide variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables, animal forage, fiber crops and native plants.   Populations of the domesticated honeybee and other wild insect pollinators (bees, flies, wasps and moths) have declined drastically in Minnesota, the U.S. and elsewhere.             Conservationists believe a number of factors have caused this decline - exposure to pathogens, parasites and pesticides, as well as habitat fragmentation.

    According to a 2010 government report, pollinators are “important in 35% of global crop production and they produce the seeds and fruits that sustain wildlife as diverse as songbirds and black bears.” Pollinators include butterflies, moths, wasps, flies, beetles, bats, hummingbirds, and bees. Bees—both native bees and honey bees—are considered the most important pollinators in temperate North America.

    Nationwide there are approximately 4,000 species of bees, with roughly 500 native to Minnesota and Wisconsin. The non-native European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most important managed crop pollinator in the United States.  Native bees also play an essential role in native ecosystems and pollinate crops such as pumpkin, berries, and orchard fruits.
 
Background on the NW MinnesotaPollinator Garden

     Agassiz Audubon Society started designing a pollinator garden for the Agassiz Audubon Center in the spring of 2013.  The Middle Snake Tamarac Rivers Watershed District joined the project a year later.

     The project received funding from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation and donations in memory of Sarah F. Gunderson of Thompson, ND, Tom Valega of Linden, NJ, and Christine Boman of Warren, MN.  Students at the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Schools led by industrial technology teacher Nathan Wozniak built four chimney swift tower/information kiosks for the project in 2014.   There are a number of opportunities for donors to sponsor additional plantings, interpretive signs, a boardwalk, trails and benches.  Contact Sheila Hoerner at 218.201.1290

     The project has also received support from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture – Pesticides Branch through a grant to the University of Minnesota Crookston’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Department.  Many of the native plants were grown from seed in the University’s greenhouses.

     The NW Minnesota Pollinator Garden is part of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) new campaign to “Protect Minnesota Pollinators” in yards and gardens, along roadsides and on farms.  The goal is increase public awareness of the importance of insect pollinators, not only to our food chain, but also to a healthy environment overall. The campaign provides Minnesotans with easy guidelines on how they can help Minnesota pollinators, and asks each of us to take one small step to help them.  
 
Pollinator Garden Project partners

     Sheila Hoerner, Agassiz Audubon Society, the independent Audubon Society representing NW Minnesota based in Warren,  218.201.1290

    Debbie Rynda, Middle Snake Tamarac Rivers Watershed District,  218.745.4741

    Carmen Simonet, Garden Designer, ASLA, PLA   651.695.0273, www.simonetdesign.com

    Gregg Regimbal, Pesticide Management Unit, MN Dept of Agriculture  651.201.6671

    Theresa Helgeson, U of M Crookston,  218.281.8120