On Wednesday October 2nd, the Office of Sustainability and Landscape Services will be hosting a Pollination Celebration from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm outside the Music building!
Mitch Robinson, the Conservation Education Manager at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, will be giving a presentation on the importance of pollinators and creating native habitats and food sources for these special animals. Following this will be the planting of a new pollinator garden in front of the Music Building. Refreshments will be provided.
The University currently has four pollinator gardens installed and maintained by Landscape Services. These are located at Brevard Hall, the Barnard Observatory, the Coulter Breezeway, and the Chancellor’s Butterfly Garden. This planting will make the fifth, and is made possible by an alumni donation.
Pollinator protection and gardens and “save the bees” campaigns have been popular in recent years, but what does it all mean?
Pollinators are animals, including bees, butterflies, moths, birds, and bats, that help transfer pollen from one plant to another in order to fertilize, or pollinate, those plants. This is critically important for all life as we know it because about 90% of the worlds flowering plants rely on pollinators to reproduce! Plants supply countless species of bugs and other small animals with vital nutrients. In turn, birds and small mammals eat these bugs and feed them to their young, larger animals eat these birds and small mammals, and so on. If these plants are not pollinated, they are unable to reproduce, destroying the basic foundation of the food chain. But woodland creatures are not the only ones dependent on pollinators for food.
Humans rely on bees and other pollinators for all of our agricultural crops to grow. If crops are not pollinated, they will not produce. With Mississippi being one of the biggest agricultural states in the country, this impacts our state and local economies greatly. You can learn more about the role of pollinators in agriculture at our Food Day Celebration on October 10th.
It is crucial to support these pollinators by creating beneficial, native habitats to keep them safe and nourished to support migration, species survival, and human agricultural systems. And so on October 2, we will celebrate the creation of these habitats on our own campus and plant a new one to raise awareness.
To get involved in habitat creation and conservation of pollinators and other important species on campus, check out the UM Beekeepers and Magnolia Grove Campus Audubon Chapter. The UM Beekeepers are a group of students who learn the importance of bees on our landscape and how to properly keep hives safe and healthy. They have their own hives on donated land off of Highway 7.
The Magnolia Grove Audubon Campus Chapter seeks to foster a conservation-minded community through diversity and biodiversity. While Audubon is focused on the conservation of birds, these students are welcoming to any and all interests, and hope to get people involved in conservation in whatever ways feel best for them. They seek to create habitats that help insects and birds through native plant education and also teach people about the amazing birds that live and migrate through Mississippi.
To learn more about the Celebration and garden planting visit here. To read more about Food Day and agricultural impacts, visit here. To get involved with student organizations, follow Magnolia Grove on Instagram at @magnoliagroveaudubon or UM Beekeepers at @um.beekeepers. Contact them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author: Emma Counce
Emma is a senior biology major with a minor in environmental studies at the University of Mississippi. This is her second semester with the Green Student Internship Program here at the Office of Sustainability, where she is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator. She is the vice president of the Magnolia Grove Campus Audubon Chapter, and she loves birding, sitting on her porch, spending time with her sweet friends, and drinking Ovaltine.