I am deeply honored to have the pleasure of interviewing Gunther Hauk again this week. His wisdom, his experience as a biodynamic farming expert and honeybee expert make him one of our true elders.
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Spikenard Farm and Honeybee Sanctuary, in Floyd VA, a few years ago. I lived near Culpeper, VA at the time and got up early to make the 5-hour road trip so I could arrive by 9:30 am. After introductions, Gunther, of course, puts all volunteers to work and we got an assignment. We seeded an additional wildflower area for the bees. We harvested weeds for the compost pile, all accomplished in a light misty rain. He hoped for an opportunity for me to experience a swarm, but not that day. We ended the morning with stimulating conversation and lunch.
I felt honored to be a part of their workday. The folks I met deeply cared for and respected the honeybee species in particular but also nature in all its complexity. I recorded my experiences here. Go to my blog post: Beauty and the Bees: https://www.judithdreyer.com/gardens/beauty-and-the-bees/ for more.
Needless to say, I had much to ponder on the ride home. I hoped to capture something of the essence of their efforts through my writing. When the podcast series began I thought of Gunther and I am so grateful for his time and sharing over this past year.
Today though I want to share something about pollinators. Pollinators are more than honeybees. The Polliantor.org site says this:
- “More than 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals. Most (more than 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths and bees.
- In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.
- Monarch butterflies have declined by 90% in the last 20 years.
- 25% of bumble bees species are thought to be in serious decline.”
I found this great offer from the pollinator.org site. They have planting guides for all types of ecoregional climates. I happen to be in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest area. The guides are colorful with great tables and resource information. I highly recommend them.
What can we do today?
- Donate to your favorite nature organization. Support their work. Pick a local one like a land trust and one national. Spikenard Farm and Honey Bee Sanctuary and Pollinator.org rely on donations to continue the great work they are doing. “The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Signature initiatives include the NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign), National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides.”
- Buy Heirloom and organic seeds. There are so many great companies, often local, such as Truelove Seeds ( my podcast guest 2 weeks ago) to buy from and support.
- Plant pollinator-friendly plants, add more if you can.
- Consider replacing lawn with more natural foliage that supports our pollinators. At the Garden’s Gate has a practical chapter on how to do so.
- Start a seed saving bank at your local library.
- Learn about one new beneficial bug. Learn to properly identify it, its habitat, how it mates, what it needs for food and where it fits in with its local ecosystem. For me, I am going to learn more about praying mantis.
What critter will you choose? Let me know. I enjoy all your comments and stories.
Please share. Thanks again. Judith