Pollinator Palooza at Minnesota Valley NWR Pollinator Palooza at Minnesota Valley NWR
14 June 2022

Pollinator Palooza at Minnesota Valley NWR

Every year, people around the world raise awareness for the health of birds, bats, bees, butterflies and other insects by celebrating Pollinator Week. These various species have been nicknamed pollinators due to the role they play in the reproductive cycle of many plant species. Pollinators fulfill the essential task of fertilizing plants by carrying pollen from the anther, or male part of one plant to the stigma, or female part of another plant of the same species in a process called pollination. Many plants that heavily rely on pollinators to complete their reproductive cycle bear widely used foods including apples, tomatoes, almonds, sugar cane, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and many others. Globally, pollinator populations are in decline, intensifying the need for broader pollinator health awareness among the public. Minnesota Valley NWR celebrated Pollinator Week to raise awareness of the decline of local pollinator populations and offer individuals actions they can take to help pollinator populations bounce back.

The festivities at Minnesota Valley NWR took form in the shape of Pollinator Palooza, hosted at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (BLEVC). While in years past the refuge hosted the event inside the BLEVC, federal guidance on COVID-19 barring NWRs from opening their doors to the public forced Minnesota Valley to be creative. Thankfully, the BLEVC is surrounded by abundant prairie flowers, a perfect habitat for celebrating pollinators! Minnesota Valley NWR and partners collaborated to provide a wide variety of educational and entertaining opportunities for Pollinator Palooza participants - including constructing a community-created bee house, using sweep and aerial nets to catch and identify prairie insects, distributing flower crowns, and a pollinator puppet show! 

After more than a year of minimal visitor interaction, it felt amazing to be networking with the public and partner organizations once more while pursuing the Fish and Wildlife Service mission of conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. 

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Minnesota Valley NWR

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