Wisconsin Celebrates Pollinator Week, June 19-25, 2023, is dedicated to raising awareness through statewide and local activities and events to support National Pollinator Week. By increasing knowledge and adopting pollinator friendly practices, we can improve pollinator health and habitats. National Pollinator Week is an annual event managed by the Pollinator Partnership to help spread the word about what we can do to protect pollinators.
A pollinator is any animal that visits flowering plants and moves pollen from flower to flower, which helps plants reproduce, making fruits and seeds. In North America, pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, flower flies, beetles, wasps, hummingbirds, and in some parts of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, nectar-feeding bats. Some animals, like butterflies, move pollen while they are feeding on plant nectar. Bees are the most efficient pollinators because they also collect pollen as a protein source for their offspring, so they move the pollen around as they visit flowering plants. There are approximately 20,000 bee species in the world, 3,600 in the United States and over 400 in Wisconsin (DATCP Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Plan).
Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals. These include blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, pumpkins, vanilla, and almonds (Pollinator Partnership). In Wisconsin, crops such as apple, cranberry, cherry, green beans, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables depend on pollinators. Honey and beeswax are also important products made in Wisconsin.
Pollinators in Wisconsin and around the world are facing population declines for many reasons. You can get involved in a lot of ways! By creating pollinator friendly habitats, reducing or eliminating environmental contamination from pesticides, and spreading the word about pollinators with your communities, we can all contribute to pollinator conservation.
More information will be coming soon how you can join us for Wisconsin Celebrates Pollinator Week virtually or in-person. In the meantime, check out the webinar recordings and activities from last year!
Recordings from last year’s Pollinator Week are available. Stay tuned for the 2023 schedule of free webinars!
Pollinator Gardens: Plant Selection and Garden Care
Presented by Susan Carpenter
Learn how to select and care for plants to attract and support diverse pollinators in your garden all season long. This presentation will emphasize native plants and pollinators and will include sustainable gardening practices.
Susan Carpenter is the native plant gardener at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum. She works with students and community volunteers to manage and monitor a 4-acre garden representing southern Wisconsin plant communities. She also promotes pollinator and bumblebee conservation through outreach, monitoring, and encouraging students and the public to document native bumblebees through the WDNR Bumble Bee Brigade.
Join in Community Science with the Wisconsin Wild Bee App
Presented by Claudio Gratton and Hannah Gaines-Day
WiBee is a new community science smartphone app developed by the Gratton Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Using WiBee, you can help increase the research data on diverse pollinator species. We can also provide growers with better pollination management recommendations and share more information about the diversity, abundance and value of Wisconsin’s wild bees. Join us to learn more about how you can use WiBee in your own garden or community!
Dr. Gratton has been on the faculty in the Entomology department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison since 2003. His research group works broadly on the landscape ecology of arthropod food webs in agricultural landscapes and the conservation of insects that are considered beneficial. He has been part of bee and butterfly conservation efforts in the state.
Wisconsin’s Busy Bees: Getting to Know the Bees in Your Area
Presented by PJ Liesch
While bees such as honey bees and bumble bees are well-known, Wisconsin is home to nearly 500 species of bees. Most of these bees go unrecognized by the public but provide critical pollination services. In this webinar, we’ll take a quick survey of some of the commonest wild bees in the state and highlight resources to help you identify these bees in your own yard and garden.
Patrick (PJ) Liesch is a statewide Extension entomology specialist and has served the director of the University of Wisconsin Insect Diagnostic Lab (IDL) since 2014. PJ also provides entomology-related outreach throughout the state, including regular appearances on Wisconsin Public Radio’s The Larry Meiller Show.
10 Things to Consider for Weed Management When Establishing Pollinator Plantings.
Presented by Mark Renz
Planting pollinator friendly habitats is an important practice to help support pollinator conservation, but managing the weeds can make it challenging. Join Mark Renz as he provides insight based on his research about weed management options and what factors you should consider when planning and establishing pollinator plantings.
Mark Renz (PhD) is a professor and extension weed specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Renz researches and extends information about the biology and management of invasive plants. Research goals in Dr. Renz’s lab are centered on developing information that will improve management by improving the knowledge and understanding of invasive plant biology. Dr. Renz has over 20 years of experience with management of invasive plants throughout the United States in a wide range of habitats including riparian zones, roadsides, floodplains, prairies, wetlands, and forests. Education efforts focus on providing technical information and educational opportunities for agency staff, consultants, companies, and citizens concerned about invasive plants. Dr. Renz also is the president of the Midwest invasive Plant Network whose mission is to reduce the impact of invasive plants in the Midwestern United States.
How Do Pesticides Affect Pollinators and Songbirds in Your Yard
Presented by Lynn Markham
Maybe you’ve heard news stories about declines in pollinators and songbirds. In this webinar, we’ll take a look at what research studies have found about how pesticides affect pollinators and songbirds, and then check out examples of what people have done to help in their yards and communities.
Lynn Markham has 20 years of experience as an Extension Land Use Statewide Specialist based at UW-Stevens Point. Her Extension work has focused on land use tools and techniques to protect natural resources. To assist communities, Lynn provides research-based information, policy options and community case studies. She holds a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Ripon College.
The Pollinator Activity Pack featured at-home activities with supplies and Pollinator Week souvenirs. The at-home activities are designed to encourage an understanding of local pollinators and the importance of pollinator habitat conservation. Check back next year to order yours for Pollinator Week 2023!
Get outside, explore and have some fun participating in a scavenger hunt to find pollinators at work and the habitats they use or you can join the Wisconsin Celebrates Pollinator Week BioBlitz using the iNaturalist smartphone app.
During the month of June, find plants and pollinators in your yard, community, favorite park, etc. and record them to the Wisconsin Celebrates Pollinator Week BioBlitz.
To get started with iNaturalist:
- Download iNaturalist app from app store on your smartphone
- Log in or sign up to create a new account
- Click Projects in the bottom toolbar (lower right corner)
- Click on the magnifying glass (search) in the top right corner
- Type Wisconsin Celebrates Pollinator Week in the search bar
- Select Wisconsin Celebrates Pollinator Week
- Select Join to join the Wisconsin Celebrates Pollinator Week BioBlitz
- Start adding your observations!
- Click Observe (camera icon)
- Select method of observation (no media, camera to take a photo, photo library to select from camera roll, or record sound)
- Make observation and submit!
For more information or help, click here to go to the iNaturalist website.
Congratulations to our winners!
We received so many original and creative entries for the first ever Wisconsin Celebrates Pollinator Week Poster Contest! Thank you to everyone who submitted their artwork. We are pleased to announce the following as our winners! They received Pollinator Week prizes and their artwork will be featured in future Pollinator Week programming.
Photos from each artist are pictured below their name, county, and title of artwork.
Age Group 0-5
Dominik Jackson, Brown County, “Pollinators and Flowers”
Claire Olson, Sauk County, “Super Bee”
Emmett Baker, Outagamie County, “Hummingbird, Bee and Butterfly”
Age Group 6-12
Note: we didn’t have any entries from the 13-18 year age group and had many entries from our 6-12 year olds so we selected additional winners from this age group!
Logan Hill, Walworth County, “Honeybee Pollinating”
Miranda Friedrichs, Eau Claire County, “Flower Power”
Anna Miles, Juneau County, “Bee Different”
Trinity Lasee, Brown County, “Celebrate and Pollinate”
Adalicia Peterson, Outagamie County, “Drawing”
Mackenna Herrild, Sauk County, “It’s Great to Pollinate”
Age Group 18 and Over
April Milszeski, Marathon County, “Save Our Bees”
Laurie Tenpas, Wood County, “Blossoms to Bees Wings”
Susan Steinhafel, Washington County, “Bees, Butterflies, Earth and Sky – All Created for Nature’s Eye”
Citizens and communities around Wisconsin are dedicated to learning more and taking actions to help pollinators through various events. Find out more about what Extension events are happening in your local area:
There are many resources available to help you learn more about pollinators and what you can do to help them. Here are some that you should bookmark!
General Pollinator Resources
Wisconsin Pollinators – bees, butterflies and their conservation (UW-Madison Gratton Lab)
Discover information about our local bees, citizen science opportunities, and use the pollinator habitat assessment tool to evaluate pollinator health in your area.
Saving Wisconsin’s Native Pollinators (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)
Explore the Wisconsin DNR page to learn more about threats to our local pollinators and pollinator habitats, funding opportunities to support habitat development, pollinator plant and insect identification resources and ways to get involved in an array of pollinator projects.
Bee Lab and Flowering Bee Lawns for Pollinators (University of Minnesota)
Learn more about bees and how you can help them through the University of Minnesota Bee Lab
Bring back the pollinators (Xerces Society)
Find information on everything you need to know about pollinators and their habitats from how to create a habitat for pollinators to managing pesticide usage in private and public spaces.
Michigan Pollinator Initiative (Michigan State University)
Michigan State University works with partners around the state in pursuit of research-based solutions for beekeepers, growers, land managers, and policy makers to promote economic vitality and ecological stability.
Supporting Native Bees – Our Essential Pollinators (UW-Madison Division of Extension)
This publication gives general information as well as suggestions for native plants.
Planting Guide for Your Native Pollinator Garden – Midwest Region (Pollinator Partnership)
Includes steps and plant suggestions to start your pollinator garden.
Free Pollinator Friendly Planting Guides (Pollinator Partnership)
Ecoregional planting guides, Selecting Plants for Pollinators, are tailored to specific areas of the United States. Enter your zip code. There are two different ones depending on where you live in Wisconsin.
Pollinator Friendly Plant List – Great Lakes Region (Xerces Society)
This fact sheet features regionally native plants that are highly attractive to pollinators and are well-suited for small-scale plantings in gardens, urban greenspaces, and farm field borders, and on business and school campuses.
Planting for Pollinators: Guiding Principles and Design Concepts for Residential Pollinator Habitat (Minnesota Board of Soil and Water)
This guide is intended to help residents, skilled gardeners to those without gardening skills, plan, install and maintain pollinator habitat in their yards.
WiBee: The Wisconsin Wild Bee App
Download the WiBee app and join the growing community of community members during the growing season to collect high quality data on wild bee abundance and diversity on Wisconsin’s fruit and vegetable farms and non-crop habitats.
Bumble Bee Brigade
Bee a volunteer with the Bumble Bee Brigade and monitor our native bumble bees. The Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade is a photography-based volunteer monitoring project. As a volunteer, you will submit photos and additional information on the bumble bees you observe.
Join the initiative and support the world-wide study on monarch migration by witnessing and recording adult monarchs you see during specific dates depending on your location.
The Great Sunflower Project
Participate in the monitoring and recording pollinator visits to the sunflower species, Lemon Queen or watch a plant and record how many pollinators visit, or how many you see while taking a nature hike.
Get involved with the community of action by contributing observational data and acting as ambassadors for conservation and protection of migratory species.