Pollinator Safari

WESTERLY, R.I. (WLNE) Animals that pollinate flowers are some of the most vital creatures on the planet. Our global food supply depends on these industrious insects. Meteorologist Kelly Bates shows us a fun community project helping to identify the bugs pollinating plants in Southern New England.

In Westerly, there is a special place called Avondale. Since 1998, this property has been entrusted to aptly named Westerly Land Trust. Here conservation is key and it’s achieved through a combination of ecology and community. On this day, the community is helping by catching pollinators. This is the Pollinator Safari.

Under the direction of Dr. Rachael Bonoan, assistant professor of biology and director of the Pollinator Lab at Providence College, volunteers armed with bug vacuums take to the fields. They’re looking for more than just bees.

One of the big finds was this rare Golden Northern Bumble Bee. All told more than 20 different pollinator species were collected and released at the safari. Diversity like this is an indicator of the health of the area and a testament to the quality of available plant life.

The Pollinator Safari is a collection data on biodiversity – basically seeing how many different kinds of species are in this area.

Since there is no historical data on pollinator numbers, the safari will establish a baseline to track insect decline in the future.

It also helps get people up close with bees and other pollinators to dispel the common fear of these helpful critters.

They have important work to do after all.

Categories: News, Scientifically Speaking