On Monday, June 28, the Ypsilanti District Library, located at 229 West Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti, is hosting a workshop, presented by Lisa Bashert of the Ypsilanti Food Co-op, entitled “Beekeeping 101: Supporting Pollinators & Urban Honeybees.”
The workshop begins at 7 pm and will last about an hour and a half including time for your questions. The evening includes a film, “Pollinator Pyramid,” produced by Barbara Lucas, as well as information about the bee hives recently installed at the Growing Hope Center and The Farm operated near St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
Lisa is very active in local food production and sustainable practices. You can find her at both Ypsilanti Farmers Markets managing the booth for Growing Hope. The Ypsi Farmers Market is open on Tuesday afternoon at Hamilton and Ferris and on Saturday morning next to the Freighthouse in Depot Town. Lisa works with the local honey project that is co-housed at the Ypsilanti Food Co-op, the Growing Hope Center building and grounds, and The Farm at St. Joe’s. She is a garden steward at Growing Hope and a former board member. Lisa is also an urban beekeeper. There are two hives at her Ypsilanti home.
The Beekeeping 101 workshop is a great opportunity to learn from a practicing expert how you can help the local bee pollinators either by volunteering at Growing Hope or in your backyard. Maybe there is a bee colony in your future.
The Beekeeping workshop fits in nicely with National Pollinator Week.
Thomas J Vilsack, US Secretary Agriculture, has declared National Pollinator Week for 2010 to be June 21 through June 27. The goal of National Pollinator Week is to increase our awareness of the necessity of pollinators in our habitat to produce flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Pollinators are vital to maintaining all of the plant life in a healthy water shed. What could be more important to healthy living than food and water.
The Pollinator Partnership is a good source of information about pollinators.
The pollinators in our part of the world include bees, butterflies, flies, moths, birds (especially hummingbirds), beetles, bats, and the wind. Pressures on our environment are making life harder for some of these pollinators. They need our help. In order to survive and thrive, pollinators need a source of food, shelter, and water. By providing access to these necessities in your yard, you are helping the growing cycle.
The pollinator’s food is nectar from flowers. One way to encourage pollinators is maintaining a landscape with plants that bloom at different times throughout the growing season. Make it a goal to have something in bloom all the time. Shelter for a pollinator includes trees and shrubs of different heights and species, leaf piles, dead wood on the ground, bare ground, and sometimes specially built structures such as bee boxes. Water sources are moving water, ponds, and containers of fresh clean water. Provide as much shelter and water as you can.
Here in Southern Michigan, we are part of the Eastern Broadleaf Forest. A planting guide for our area is available through the Pollinator Partnership website. The guide is a collaboration of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the C.S. Fund, the Plant Conservation Alliance, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management with oversight by the Pollinator Partnership. Beneficial planting includes trees, shrubs, and flowers. Some of the flowering plants they list are:
- red columbine
- daisy fleabanes
- trout lily
- joe-pye weed
- black-eyed Susans
- trumpet honeysuckle
- Virginia creeper
- Virginia bluebells
The guide suggests, “Tolerate a little mess – leave dead snags and leaf litter, keep areas bare for ground nesting insects, and leave some weeds that provide food for pollinators. Provide safe access to clean water.”
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