A Perfect Match: Fish and Wildlife Organizations Join Feed a Bee to Help Pollinators

Feed a Bee forage grants have reached many organizations across the U.S. Here's how three fish and wildlife groups are putting them to good use.

Fish and Wildlife 1The Bayer Feed a Bee program initiative to plant pollinator forage across the country by the end of 2018 has touched many different places since it began earlier this year. Each grantee’s efforts add more valuable forage acreage for bees and other pollinators, and all 93 projects are unique in their own right. We are happy to have helped so many organizations create strong forage habitats, especially those that interact closely with local pollinators firsthand each day and are keenly aware of their needs. Here’s a closer look at some of the projects Feed a Bee has funded to date with grantees who share our passion for pollinators – specifically those dedicated to supporting the fish and wildlife community and related organizations supporting wildlife populations and protecting native habitats.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

This fall, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will use its Feed a Bee grant to plant three pollinator forage plots in the community and attract a mix of pollinator species that are adapted to the Intermountain West, such as bumble bees and various butterfly species. For the agency, the forage grant is a great opportunity to showcase some of the area’s native bee species and other important pollinators.

According to Beth Waterbury, regional wildlife biologist for Idaho Department of Fish and Game, she is seeing a groundswell of community interest and appreciation for pollinators and what they do for our environment. “Feed a Bee’s timing allowed us to harness that momentum,” says Beth. “I also liked that we could select sites that would have high public visibility and help spread awareness of the benefits of native pollinators.”

 

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The small, rural community of Salmon in east-central Idaho is full of school groups, scientists, master gardeners and beekeepers who are interested in monitoring these forage sites and replicating similar work in other areas. For example, starting in 2018, the agency will implement a statewide survey for native bumble bees that highlights certain species needing the greatest conservation support, and the plots created by the Feed a Bee forage grant will be tied in as a fun way to increase awareness in the area. “The grant funding opportunity is so rare. There’s just not that much funding out there for these particular types of projects,” says Beth. “The opportunity is incredibly appreciated, and we are going to get a lot of mileage out of it.”

Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex

For its Feed a Bee forage project, Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex in New York will create a seven-acre restoration and enhancement initiative. Three separate fields were selected for the project – all of which did not previously provide an ideal forage habitat for local pollinators.

 

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The organization applied for the Feed a Bee forage grant to cover the cost of the native seeds in the seven acres. According to Nick Vermeulen, biological technician at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, providing increased forage is important for many different pollinators in the area whose populations have been in decline for several years due to habitat loss and other factors. “This project will increase the pollinator forage habitat on the refuge, and restored fields will provide added diversity and pollinator forage throughout the growing season,” says Nick. “This project would not have come to fruition without the grant to cover the seed cost from Feed a Bee.”

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge

The forage project at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina takes aim at enhancing existing pollinator gardens by removing weeds and planting native species that flower during alternating seasons to provide forage for a variety of pollinators year-round. The organization is planning to install educational signage describing how to promote pollinator health, along with information on the various plants and the forage they provide. With the Feed a Bee forage grant, the organization also plans to enhance its existing gardens and educate visitors to the refuge about the importance of pollinators. Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge sees their forage area as a way to attract volunteers and create opportunities for community involvement.

“Pollinators are important to both humans and wildlife. People often overlook the small things, like pollinators, that may eventually have large impacts on our quality of life,” says Michelle Chappell, assistant refuge manager at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. “One little garden will attract hummingbirds, native bees, a variety of butterfly and moth species and more. If enough people see how important providing forage is for pollinators and show enough interest to act, then the outcome could be significant.”

Each of these three organizations is supporting pollinators in a different way, but all are taking part in the nationwide effort to provide more food and habitat for honey bees and other pollinators. We can’t wait to see the finished projects that result from these forage initiatives and look forward to celebrating many more in the future.

Tune in to our social channels on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to follow #FeedABee to learn more about the great work being done across the country in support of our fuzzy friends!