Why do we have an annual Pollinator Awareness Day at the Houston Zoo, you ask? Because pollinators RULE! Here are 10 reasons why:
10. Fruit! Bananas, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, mango, peaches, cherries, apples, kiwi, oranges… well, you get the idea (the list goes on and on).
9. Veggies! Squash, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, artichokes, bell peppers, onions, yams, beans… and many more!
8. Nuts and Spices! Almonds, walnuts, cayenne, chipotle, saffron, fennel, Allspice, VANILLA!
7. Clothes! Cotton, anyone?
6. Halloween! No pollinators, no pumpkins. So much for traditional Thanksgiving pies, too…
5. Dairy! Hmmm… what’s the connection here? Alfalfa! Dairy cows need alfalfa (a plant pollinated by leafcutting bees) so that you can have cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, ice cream and pretty much every dessert ever conceived.
4. Honey! (this is a no-brainer)
3. Coffee!! Let’s face it, without coffee you probably couldn’t even operate this computer.
2. Chocolate!! This is a big one folks! Did you know that cacao trees (this is where chocolate comes from) are pollinated by a midge, which is a tiny fly? Are you going to put your flyswatter down now? I thought so.
1. Life as we know it! about 75% of all flowering plants depend on pollinating animals to complete their life cycles – and even if you don’t eat any part of all those thousands of plant species, somebody out there depends on them… Without pollinators, animals that depend on those plants would perish and the animals that eat the aforementioned herbivores would starve too. An absence of pollinators would result in a catastrophic collapse of the Earth’s fragile terrestrial ecosystems (yes, this is where you live). So put down the bug spray and start creating a backyard pollinator habitat today! Hey – every little bit helps.