You can help support insect pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, through habitat you provide on your property or in your gardens. Pollinators need shelter and food to thrive, but how do you know if your property is achieving this potential?
To help promote local habitat for pollinators, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Gratton Lab in the Department of Entomology and the Dane County Environmental Council have launched a new, free online tool to help you assess any site for the quality of its pollinator habitat. Whether you have a single garden bed, a yard or a multi-acre property, the tool helps you to identify the opportunities you have to support pollinators. The assessment tool is suitable to use for any property throughout Wisconsin and neighboring states.
“Pollinators such as honeybees play a critical part in our environment, but can face adversity from challenges like pesticides and climate change,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This new tool will be available for anyone in Dane County to use and is one step we can all take to support pollinator habitat.”
The Wisconsin Online Pollinator Habitat Assessment is available at www.pollinators.wisc.edu/habitat and takes less than 20 minutes to complete. It’s a simple evaluation designed to be completed on a smartphone or tablet, so you can walk around a garden or property and observe features like how many species of flowers are blooming at different times of year, and what undisturbed nesting habitat is available to insect pollinators. With descriptive photos and links to resources built in to the tool, it’s an educational resource that can be used by anyone, including families with kids.
One of the major reasons for declining populations of bees, butterflies and other pollinators is the loss of food and nesting habitat across our landscapes to sustain them. While doing your assessment of your site, you will learn about the sorts of features on your property that can help pollinators, such as having native flowering plants that bloom, or dead wood and undisturbed ground for pollinators to create their nests. The tool can help you make a quick evaluation what opportunities you have on your particular site to support pollinators.
For more information contact Michelle Probst, Natural Resources Educator, at Probst.Michelle@countyofdane.com