Many pollinators are in peril and the time is now to replenish pollinator habitat on the landscape where it matters most. This is why The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund (BBHF) formed with leadership and support from Project Apis m., key stakeholders, and the beekeeping industry. The growing sense of urgency about honey bee health and monarch butterfly populations has created a unique ‘Moment in Time' when a broad collection of supporters have come together to support pollinator habitat efforts and make a difference.
Apply Now for 2018!
This year, the BBHF expanded efforts with a new habitat program called Seed A Legacy. The program is providing free, or deeply discounted, pollinator seed mixes to projects in 11 key states of the Midwest and Great Plains. The program is currently open to private, public and corporate lands for projects that will be established this spring.
Applications received after March 31st using the online application at http://beeandbutterflyfund.org/habitat-programs/seed-a-legacy-program will be considered for projects in the fall of 2018.
Different by Design
The Seed A Legacy program is unique in how it strategically designs and delivers pollinator habitat benefits. Seed mixtures provide four key objectives: 1) Increased pollinator benefits, 2) Cost-effective, 3) Establish quickly, and 4) Provide improved early weed competition values. These objectives are delivered in all BBHF projects and referred to as ‘NextGen Habitat Projects’.
In addition, each BBHF project is established with two different seed mixtures: a ‘Honey Bee’ seed mixture and a ‘Monarch Butterfly’ seed mixture. The Honey Bee seed mixture is comprised of a combination of legume species (like clover and alfalfa) that honey bees evolved and adapted to. Those legume species are preferred by honey bees and contribute greatly to their overall health and honey production. The Monarch Butterfly seed mixture is comprised of the many native wildflower species that are crucial for the life cycle and health of a broad range of native pollinator species. While most pollinator use and benefit from both of these seed mixtures, they establish very differently because of their design and components.
The value of BBHF habitat projects and the seed mixtures used are currently being evaluated in three research projects that are documenting the ability to deliver on the four key objectives. Early research results are documenting that BBHF seed mixtures have significantly increased pollinator value over other pollinator conservation programs that BBHF projects were compared with.
Just like our habitat solutions, our supporters are diverse! The BBHF delivers its habitat goals with a ‘Big Tent’ approach, bringing together a very broad range of interests and groups that are working to benefit pollinator species. That support includes diverse groups like commercial beekeepers, crop commodity organizations, agricultural industry, wildlife conservation groups, honey packers, conservationists, public entities, beekeeping supply companies and others. In many cases, the groups and interests working collectively through the BBHF might not collaborate or view themselves as partners in any other way. But, restoring pollinator habitat is something we can all agree to act upon.
Our Moment in Time
We are committed to inviting all stakeholders to the table to make a difference. The urgency to get high-quality pollinator habitat on the landscape has never been greater and we need everyone possible to support planting habitat back into the landscape. Join us!
For more information about the BBHF and its habitat programs, please contact the BBHF at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-407-5337. Make this the ‘Moment in Time’ that you get involved!
This summer we have been watching our Bee & Butterfly Habitat plantings in their second year. For those of you preparing bees for winter we are pleased to report that BBHF plots look great! Even this late in the year, beekeepers know how much value late season forage adds for overwintering success!
When I walk a plot of flowers, it never fails to amaze me how many insects only become visible when I stand still and rest my eyes on a blooming plant. Hundreds of insects can appear in the moments I become still and the only motion is these small creatures! One species amongst the flowers that is not easily missed this year is the Painted Lady Butterfly. Often mistaken for a monarch butterfly, this species has booming populations this year. We don’t know why, and our friends at the Prairie Ecologist provide some good information here, but events like this will blow your mind if you let them! Perhaps you have considered how amazing it is that a honey bee can fly 5-10 miles if she has to, and still return to the right hole in the wall! But Monarch Butterflies cover 3,000 miles, and it takes them 4 generations to complete their migration process to the mountains in Mexico. Painted Ladies are also migratory. The ones we see are reliant on habitats in Central and South America. Amazingly, the ones in the UK make a journey over 9,000 miles!
It is with great pleasure that I marvel at these creatures, and with great enthusiasm that we work to replace their lost habitat. It’s not just for honey bees, but for the painted ladies, the monarchs, the bumble bees and myriad pollinators who need these blooming meadows! Feast your eyes on a few seconds of video of Painted Ladies and others on Anise Hyssop in a BBHF planting. It’s like a massage for your eyes. Now that’s good habitat!
Executive Director, Project Apis m.
Introducing Peter Berthelsen,