California Rare Fruit Growers – Central Coast Chapter
August 2018 Newsletter
by Lori Bright
Meeting: August 11, 2018
Our meeting for August was held at the PG&E Education Center. We had a member of the Xerces (pronounced Zer-Cees)
Society speak to us about Pollinator Conservation. The Xerces Society
supports and protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. We were fortunate to have
Cameron Newell, a Pollinator Conservation Specialist, teach us about pollinators, their life cycles, how they interact
with agriculture and how we can help to ensure their presence into the future.
Why be concerned about pollinators? Well, if we care about plants (think food here) then consider that 85% of all plants need Pollinators to complete the process of pollination. These pollinators are largely Bees. (Native and Honey Bees.)
Bees have hit a 50 percent decline based on studies from 1950 -2016. Reasons for this decline are pests, diseases, loss- of-habitat, Varroa mite and exotic infectors. Bumble Bees in particular are on the “verge of distinction”. One of these Bumble Bees, the Franklin’s Bumble Bee hasn’t been seen in years. The Western Bumble Bee was once the most predominant species in North America, now it has dwindled down to several small patches.
Monarch Butterflies are true migrators, they winter in Coastal California. (Some over-winter in Mexico too). They will
fly all the way up to Canada and then return south. California has a population that stays year round. In the 1980’s
there was a head count of 10 Million Monarchs, in 2016 there were less than 300 Thousand. The Monarchs risk
extinction within 20 years.
How can we help? Well, Plant something, but not just any something. Plant flowers, better still, plant native plants that flower. Then protect these plantings from pesticides. To do a really great job, incorporate plants that will have a succession of blooms. Farmers are learning to incorporate Hedgerows and Shelterbelts around or in their crop growing areas. These flowering plants draw in the pollinators. (As well as having the nice added benefit of increasing the yields of some crops)
If you would like to have your own “Hedgerow” or just want to add a few beneficial plants to help out our pollinators then go to Xerces' California Plant List for a fab list of bloomers.
If you would like more information about how to be a good partner with nature, go to https://beebettercertified.org
Thanks Cameron, we appreciate all you imparted!