Pollinator Week: Protecting Vital Links in Ohio’s Ecosystem

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 22, 2022

By Mary Schuermann Kuhlman
Ohio News Connection

From the Frosted Elfin Butterfly to the Rusty Batch Bumble Bee, vital links of Ohio’s ecosystem are in trouble.

This is Pollinator Week, bringing awareness to the crucial role of pollinators in our ecosystem and the challenges many of them face.
Marci Lininger, director of the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, explained  roughly 40 percent of the world’s pollinators are at risk of extinction or decline. She said several challenges are putting pressure on pollinator populations, including habitat loss.

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“Infrastructure, we’re constantly building, we’re constantly growing,” Lininger outlined. “You can also look at the use of herbicides and pesticides. Different things like roads, increased traffic, climate change. So, all those things kind-of factor together.”

More than 75 percent of all flowering plants need help with pollination. Ohioans are encouraged to help support pollinators by providing organic habitat, like planting wildflowers on their property, or getting involved in Pollinator Week activities. Learn more online at ohiopollinator.org.

Pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food, Lininger noted, which makes them essential to healthy food systems.

“Without pollinators, we’re going to see changes in prices of the things that we want to eat,” Lininger pointed out. “We’re going to see changes in availability in the foods that we want to eat. If you’re a vegetarian, that’s super important, but even if you’re a meat-eater, what do the cows eat? There are certain native grasses that cattle eat.”

The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative partners with organizations and groups to get the word out about the importance of pollinators. It also provides guidance and technical assistance for restoration events and other projects supporting pollinator conservation.