4-H Supports Pollinators
Pollinators are essential to a sustainable and secure food supply, so we are making extra efforts to educate our youth about why and how they should care for pollinators.
Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, beetles, flies, and other like species pollinate 75% of our food-producing crops. However, the future looks bleak for many pollinators as their numbers continue to dwindle. Researchers estimate that populations across all pollinator species have declined by 30%-60% over the past decade. A significant reason for the decline is the destruction and fragmentation of habitats by human activity in cities and suburbs.
To raise awareness of declining pollinator populations and to inspire future generations to take action, Kentucky 4-H youth development extension agents are teaching young people about the importance of pollinators. Many 4-H clubs provide basic educational information. We also have local 4-H groups taking conservation a step further and successfully operating bee hives and installing pollinator-friendly gardens. Some youth will showcase these gardens in Cloverville at the Kentucky State Fair.
The 4-H Bee Ambassador Program was launched in 2017 as a certification program to encourage and reward county extension educators who focus on pollinator education. In addition, the program was developed to support the 2017 KY Pollinator Protection Plan and its focus on creating and preserving pollinator habitats. Throughout the commonwealth, many youths benefit from the Bee Ambassador counties' work by being able to observe beehives, pollinator gardens, and day camps, among other activities.
UK honors counties for their commitment to the welfare of pollinators through the 4-H Bee Ambassador Program every year at the annual state 4-H conference and the UK extension's 4-H Bee Ambassador Program website.
For information about ways to support pollinators in your community, contact the Butler County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-526-3767.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status. They will not discriminate based on race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.
By: Lloyd G. Saylor, County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development
Source: Blake Newton, entomology extension specialist