by Lori Turner

Pollinators are needed to produce one out of every three bites of food you eat. There are over 450 species of bees in Missouri. Flies, spiders, beetles and even birds and bats can be pollinators. Insect pollinators live a portion of their lives as a caterpillar. A pair of Black-capped Chickadees will feed their hatchlings more than 700 caterpillars a day.

Pollinators are really important but they are in decline from habitat loss, pollution, and pesticides. You can help save pollinators by reducing or eliminating pesticide use in your gardens and yard and creating green spaces for pollinator habitat.

Columbia Audubon Society is trying to do its part by building over 20 acres of prairie here in Columbia. The prairie at Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary (CANS) has even hosted a citizen science project. In July the Xerces Society conducted a training session for volunteers participating in the Missouri Bumble Bee Atlas (MBBA). The volunteers learned how to safely catch, photograph and release bumble bees. This is the first statewide research project intended to identify and track the distribution of Missouri’s native bumble bees.

Your financial support to Columbia Audubon Society helps make these prairie projects possible and in return creates habitat suitable for declining pollinators such as native bumble bees. Donate to Columbia Audubon Society at before December 31.