Pollinators and The Naturally Wild Swap Shop

Pollinators – what are they and why are they important?

A pollinator is an animal that helps a flowering plant complete its life-cycle by picking up pollen from one flower and moving

A gecko about to pollinate a tropical flower
A gecko about to pollinate a tropical flower

it to another of the same type.  This fertilizes the plant, allowing it to form seeds for the next generation.

Why does that matter to us?

Without plants being pollinated, we would loose at least 30% of ALL the food we eat.  Items such as fruit, veggies, nuts, spices, coffee, tequila and chocolate.  Beef and dairy products would be affected too because bees pollinate the alfalfa the cattle eat.  Even our clothes would suffer – cotton plants rely on pollinators too!

Mexican Long-tongued bat pollinating an agave blossom
Mexican Long-tongued bat pollinating an agave blossom

Pollinators include bees, bats, birds, small mammals, lizards and even a lemur.

Now, the question is: How can you help our pollinators and how does the Swap Shop tie in?

First….You can plant a pollinator garden of your own!  It can be anything from potted plants on a patio or balcony to a full size flower bed.

Next….Bring pictures, drawings, or reports about your pollinator garden to the Swap Shop for points!  Eligible traders will get points for both items showing the initial garden set up, as well as on going reports on wildlife seen in the garden.  And the trader will be recorded in the Swap Shop as a Pollinator Pal.

Some of the host plants that do well in our area include Milkweed, Bee Balm, Dutchman’s Pipe Vine, Mexican Bauhinia and Porter Weed.

The Red-bellied lemur pollinates the flowers of the traveler's palm
The Red-bellied lemur pollinates the flowers of the traveler’s palm

Need information about how to build a pollinator garden?  Many sites on line have great information.  Those include, but are not limited to, US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Native Plant Society of Houston or The Xerces Society.

Join us at the Houston Zoo on June 20-21 as we celebrate Pollinator Day and learn more.

Don’t know about the Naturally Wild Swap Shop?  Click here for more information.



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