As Mother Nature bursts into bloom and her bounties hit farmers’ markets and grocery stores, think about the fact that nearly every third bite of food you take requires a pollinator. Strawberries, peaches, coffee, chocolate, and crunchy autumn apples are on the long list of foods that would disappear from our diets if we keep losing bees.
Bats, hummingbirds, beetles, moths, wasps and even flies help bees, and butterflies pollinate over 75% of the world’s flowering plants and over 75% of our crops. But they need our help. That’s why Xcel Energy has taken a leadership role in supporting, creating, and restoring pollinator habitat for over 30 years.
How Xcel Energy digs in
We’re partnering with communities, residents, non-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies to create healthier, sustainable food systems that protect pollinators. So far, we’ve got over 2,100 acres of pollinator habitat spread across 44 sites in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. We are working on creating nearly a dozen more locations this year, including the first planting at one of our wind farms in Dickey County, North Dakota.
We also do not use pesticides that contain chemicals that are harmful to beneficial insects in our vegetation management practices to control brush, trees, and weeds on our rights-of-way and properties.
“We’re educating the communities we serve about the importance of pollinators in their daily lives while using company property to make a difference,” said Pam Rasmussen, Siting and Land Rights senior manager and pollinator initiative lead for Xcel Energy. “Through our partnerships and education efforts, we’re helping move the needle forward as far as awareness of the importance of pollinators and how people can help create and improve habitat in their back yards.”
The impact of climate change on pollination has further encouraged people to take action.
Get started in your back yard -- or on your patio or deck
According to the National Pollinator Garden Network:
- over 1 million gardens were registered in the past three years
- an estimated 8 million people in North America were involved
- approximately 5 million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat have been established
Could you go without coffee or chocolate?
The thought of losing coffee or chocolate should be incentive enough for many of us to sit up and ask how we can help. Find out if one of your favorite foods is on this extensive list of crops pollinated by bees.
Pollinator Week is buzzing with all kinds of activities and information you can use all year.
- The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service provides loads of educational resources and fun activities to attract pollinators, including how to plant your own pollinator garden.
- Download kid-friendly activities and recipes with ingredients that rely on pollinators from The Pollinator Partnership. They are the largest non-profit organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.
Together, we are making a difference for pollinators right in our back yards. Learn more about Xcel Energy’s pollinator program.