The Ultimate Partnership

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Consider this: about 75% of all flowering plants rely on pollination to set seed or fruit, and from these plants comes one-third of the human diet. This Monday marks the beginning of Pollinator Week, an international effort to focus on the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations.

Pollinators positively effect our lives and the life of the entire planet. The invaluable ecosystem services they provide are eloquently told in the classic book, The Natural History of Pollination by Michael Proctor, Peter Yeo, and Andrew Lack (originally part of the legendary British book series, The New Naturalists). This well-illustrated book describes all the ways in which pollination occurs: wind, water, birds, bats, insects, even mice.

Over the last few years, there have been many books addressing the worldwide decline of pollinator species, and few better than the Xerces Society Guide, Attracting Native Pollinators. Over eighty species of native pollinators are introduced (including bees, flies, butterflies, wasps, and moths). Detailed instruction is also given on how to create flowering habitat to encourage pollinator populations.

Pollination is an amazingly intricate dance between plant and animal, brought to us by the timeless patience of evolution. Here’s a few more Land Library volumes celebrating this natural everyday miracle of life:

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Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers, and Conservationists by Eric Mader, Marla Spivak, and Elaine Evans (a full-color guide for rearing and managing bumble bees, leafcutter bees, and other species that provide pollination alternatives to the declining honey bee), and The Forgotten Pollinators by Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan, a now-classic book that was among the first to focus on the importance of a wide diversity of pollinators: bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bats, and many more.

Sherian Wright has written an excellent guide to one such alternative pollinator, full of tips on how to create a friendly habitat that will encourage the mason bee’s free services:

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Mason Bees for the Backyard Gardener by Sherian A. Wright.

There’s many ways to celebrate Pollinator Week, and many ways to support their survival throughout the year. Here’s one way that we especially love — a San Francisco neighborhood that transformed a vacant city lot into a Pollinator Garden:

For much more on the positive contributions of pollinators, please visit the very informative Pollinator Partnership website, where you can download or order:

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Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees by Beatriz Moissett and Stephen Buchmann. This slender 40-page booklet is one of the best introductions we’ve seen to the hidden world of North America’s native bees. Beautifully illustrated too!

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A great week to take time to learn more — and to find ways you can help our pollinator partners!

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