Pollinators need you and you need pollinators.
So that’s why the City of Palm Desert and The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens are joining in on the celebration of Pollinator Week which started Monday. It’s a time to raise awareness of pollinators and what you can do to protect them.
“Pollinators make everything possible. All the beauty that happens in the world is due to pollinators. The food that we get is due to pollinators,” said Dr. James Danoff-Burg, director of conservation at the Living Desert.
A pollinator is an animal that causes plants to make fruit or seeds. Pollinators include bees, bats, birds, beetles, butterflies, moths, and small mammals.
“One in three of every bite of food that you eat comes from a pollinator, because they pollinated the plant, that plant made that fruit and you’re eating that fruit,” said Danoff-Burg.
According to Danoff-Burg, pollinators contribute close to $12 billion to the California economy.
“We’ve seen the decline of many species for certain, but we haven’t lost any that we’re aware of,” said Danoff-Burg. “We can make that difference by planting native plants…Those native plants benefit our native pollinators.”
Stable pollinator populations are foundational for healthy ecosystems and food systems. The Living Desert made a Native Plant Guide for you to use when looking to buy native plant species for your garden:
Climate change, growing land development, and dangerous pesticides are mostly to blame for the decline in certain pollinator species.
The City of Palm Desert is taking steps to help protect the habitat of pollinators. It started its second year of participating in Pollinator Week by taking the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge through the National Wildlife Federation.
“It’s very important to protect and promote our pollinators because they do so much for us. They’re such an integral part of the ecosystem,” said Shawn Muir, a management analyst for the City of Palm Desert Parks and Recreation. “The Living Desert guided our public department works to establish [our] demonstration garden and partnered with us on the Native Planting Guide.”
The City has pledged to install a monarch butterfly mural at the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert Center, install more educational signs within Civic Center Park, and plant milkweed at various City parks and medians.
Milkweed is the plant that caterpillars of monarch butterflies feed on. Planting milkweed helps benefit the monarch butterflies.
“Planting native species in our areas, in our yards, in our backyards– have them in pots on your on your balcony of your apartment. Everyone can contribute,” said Danoff-Burg.