Celebrate National Pollinator Week

To celebrate National Pollinator Week on June 17-23, join the effort to restore pollinator habitat! Honeybees, bumblebees, other insects, birds and small mammals are critically important to natural ecosystems and crop production. Tower Grove Park invests in their conservation in several ways. 

Benefits of Pollinators
Bees pollinate! The honeybee and native bees play a massive role in producing fruit, vegetables, and plants, all crucial to our health and ecosystem. About 90% of all flowering plants need pollinators to move pollen from flower to flower. From strawberries, to broccoli, to the natural prairies in the Park, native bees and other pollinators are responsible for creating such a diverse landscape, which impacts the entire ecosystem, including humans.

Decline of the Bee
There isn’t a simple answer to why bee populations are declining. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a drastic decline from colony collapse disorder (CCD). Pesticides, disease, other insects, a warming climate, and expansion of human development have greatly reduced honey bee populations.

Our Work at Tower Grove Park
We’re making a change in our own backyard! Last year, our Horticulture Team started two hives with a generous gift from the Ladue Garden Club. Our goal for beekeeping at the Park is to develop a stable colony to pollinate our plants, as well as to educate the public about the benefits of beekeeping. We welcome school groups in the spring and summer to teach classes on the impact of pollinators.

Our Park-wide plantings each spring, summer and fall provide pollinators with ecological diversity. Our garden beds have native perennials and seasonal plants that are food for pollinators and other tiny critters. This spring, we established a Monarch Waystation Garden. Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico, where they wait out the winter until a return flight in the spring. The Tower Grove Park wayside garden, or waystation, ensures the butterflies have ample food and nectar sources to make their long journey.

Our Forestry Team established and maintains two prairies and transformed its two waterways into riparian corridors. The lush and wild field of grass, flowers, and shrubs provide wealth to insects and animals and are vital to our educational programs. Wildlife and pollinators enjoy the variety of rich flowers, including little bluestem, milkweed, wild bergamot, purple coneflower, and black-eyed Susan.

You Can Help
Plant a garden at home—even in the city. The honey bee actually thrives in a city environment with neighborhood gardens and vacant lots.  Attract native bees with small houses made of reeds or bamboo and by clearing ground around your home for bees to burrow and nest underground.

Contrary to what you might think, urban bees are healthier, produce more honey, and are more likely to survive the winter than rural bees. The reason is farming in rural areas exposes bees to less diverse plant types and more pesticides. A small city backyard can be the perfect space to welcome pollinators.

Learn beekeeping— There are many resources to learn beekeeping at home. St. Louis Magazine interviewed local beekeeper, Jane Sueme of Isabee’s for tips and tricks to starting a hive. Our Horticulture Team is always happy to share our experiences with beekeeping.

Support organizations who help— There are many organizations dedicated to helping protect and preserve pollinators, including Tower Grove Park. Consider a gift to help ensure the future success of bees.

As you observe National Pollinator Week, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and complexity of our ecosystem. Allow your impact to be beneficial to everyone, including and especially the pollinators.

The prairie along Magnolia Avenue has a variety of rich flowers, including little bluestem, milkweed, wild bergamot, purple coneflower, and black-eyed Susan.

The prairie along Magnolia Avenue has a variety of rich flowers, including little bluestem, milkweed, wild bergamot, purple coneflower, and black-eyed Susan.

The queen bee can be spotted at the center.

The queen bee can be spotted at the center.

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Michelle Lawrence