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Sweet Pepper Ranch's Fall Project: Native Pollinator Hedgerow

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Providing winning solutions for horse management and the environment since 1997

Sweet Pepper Ranch's Fall Project: Native Pollinator Hedgerow

Alayne Blickle

The 'before' picture of our hedgerow, stay tuned for the 'after'...
The 'before' picture of our hedgerow, stay tuned for the 'after'...

Message from Alayne:

For those of you who don’t know it, Sweet Pepper Ranch, our place in Nampa, Idaho, doubles as a guest ranch and horse motel. What’s new here is that next year we hope to add another line to that resume: hosting weddings and special events. This fall we began prepping for a project that will enhance that business objective and will also meet another objective of ours of being environmentally sensitive.

We are creating a pollinator hedgerow, an 80 foot long hedgerow of attractive, colorful perennials, which will help with our business objective by providing a colorful backdrop of continuously blooming flowers. It will also add important habitat for native pollinators - native bees, moths, butterflies and other insects.

When someone says pollinators, I bet you think about honey bees! Did you know there actually are many types of native pollinators which are very important to the environment as well as to agriculture?

Native pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and other insects, fill an essential ecological niche. They support the reproduction of over 85% of the world's flowering plants and more than two-thirds of the world's crop species. In the United States, insect pollination is critical for many major crops including alfalfa, almonds, apples, blackberries, blueberries, canola, cherries, cranberries, pears, plums, squash, sunflowers, tomatoes, and watermelons. Wow! In North America approximately 4,000 species of native bees provide much of the pollination necessary for these crops. Wild native bees save money for producers by providing free pollination services and increasing crop quality and quantity. On a bee-per-bee basis, native bees are actually more effective at pollinating than honey bees.

Native bees have other benefits over honey bees, such as foraging in colder and wetter conditions. Some native bees specialize in one type of flower, such as squash bees. Native bumble bees perform a unique and highly beneficial type of pollination called buzz-pollination, important for cross-pollination. Plus, if the population of one native bee species declines, other native bee species can fill the gap. And, if the honey bee industry continues to have troubles, native bees can fill in when honey bees are in short supply or are more expensive.

If you are interested in building a hedgerow for native pollinators, or are just interested in learning about the benefits of native insects, then join Horses for Clean Water and the Snohomish Conservation District for Bring on the Bugs! Saturday, November 14, 9 am to 4 pm in Monroe, WA. This full day workshop, taught by the Xerces Society, will provide you with the latest science-based approaches to reversing pollinator declines and will equip you with techniques to protect and manage habitat for these vital insects.

This is a project that I am very excited about - in fact I am so excited about it that I wrote the grant proposal which funded this event in order to bring it to YOU, my fellow Puget Sound horse owners. So come join me at this highly interesting, fun and educational event about native pollinators—the good bugs!

Here’s the scoop:

MONROE, WA

Evergreen State Fairgrounds (Longhouse Bldg.)

Saturday, November 14, 9 am to 4 pm

COST : $15 per person -- includes lunch, materials and a book

WORKSHOP: Bring on the Bugs! Beneficial Insects and Native Pollinators

Pollinators - bees, butterflies, and other insects - provide an essential service for the environment supporting over 85% of the world's flowering plants and more than two-thirds of the world's crop species. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most land-based ecosystems. Conservation of pollinating insects is critically important to preserving both wider biodiversity and healthy agricultural systems. Join us for this event led by the Xerces Society to learn how to identify native bees and other beneficial insects, as well as how to design your property to attract these good guys and minimize your impact on them. This workshop is sponsored by the Snohomish Conservation District with funding from the Rose Foundation and Washington Department of Ecology.

Register here: snocd.org/native-pollinator

Hope to see you there!

Alayne

“Always leave the Earth better than you found it.” Rupert Stephens