Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pollinator Workshop to be held in Shelby County 

As you’ve heard by now, Monarch butterflies, honey bees, and other pollinating insects have been declining at alarming rates throughout Ohio and the Midwest. Did you know that pollinators are responsible for over 15 billion dollars in agriculture each year? Without them, many of our favorite and most common foods would cease to exist. Adequate habitat is the most critical component lacking for many of these species.

Ideal pollinator habitat includes a diverse mixture of flowering plants, (wildflowers, legumes, shrubs, and trees) which will provide year round cover and nectar sources. The presence of these pollinating insects will attract upland birds, like ring-necked pheasants, bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, and many songbirds. These protein-rich insects make up over 90% of a young bird’s diet, so creating this habitat is critical for their lifecycles as well!

 Darke County Pheasants Forever Chapter has recently focused their efforts on creating this pollinator-friendly habitat. They have recently joined forces with the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI), a group of conservation partners also pursuing the same task. Together they are impacting properties large and small by creating more habitat for pollinating insects, and all wildlife species. Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, Division of Forestry, Pheasants/Quail Forever, Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Ohio State University Extension, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Wild Turkey Federation and Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts are all sponsoring an event that you should be made aware of.

You’re invited to a pollinator wildlife habitat workshop in Shelby County, June 29th, 2016 from 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm. Taking place on Jim Scheer’s farm, wildlife professionals will be there to present the most current information on pollinator habitat. Topics like beekeeping, plant identification, milkweed and monarchs, and pollinators in woodlands will all be covered here. Most importantly, the workshop will provide landowners with the knowledge and skills to establish and manage pollinator-friendly habitat on their own properties.

This event is $10 per person and includes dinner and a folder full of reference materials to take home. All participants must pre-register with the Shelby SWCD by June 24th. A flyer with details and a registration form is available at www.ShelbySWCD.org or the Shelby SWCD Office. For further information about the workshop or with questions about creating pollinator habitat, please contact Jason Jones, local Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist, at (937) 423-0904, jjones@pheasantsforever.org or Darke County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) (937) 548-1752.

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