Solving problems in our communities
Engaging university-trained volunteers to empower and sustain diverse communities with relevant, unbiased, research-based horticulture and environmental stewardship education. Read about WSU Master Gardeners in the news.
1,600 community participants contribute to pollinator health, fostering food production, as well as promoting plant and insect biodiversity. They achieve this by cultivating plants that attract pollinators and applying pesticides appropriately.
Pollination stands as a crucial ecological function vital for survival.
Nearly 80% of food-producing plants depend on animal pollination, primarily through creatures like bees. A noteworthy fact is that one in every four bites of the food we consume relies on a pollinator.
The global decline in insect pollinators poses a significant challenge to food security.
Beyond sustenance, pollination is essential for the reproduction of flowering plants, playing a role in erosion prevention, water filtration, carbon sequestration, and oxygen addition to the atmosphere.
Bees, pollinating approximately 90% of wild plants, are facing concerning trends. The Center for Biological Diversity reports that over half of native bee species are declining, nearly one in four is in jeopardy, and 40% of insect pollinators are under significant threat
WSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers educate on methods to promote the thriving of native bees and other pollinators within home and community landscapes, fostering both a secure food supply and a biodiverse ecosystem.
1,108 adults and 455 youth were educated on the critical role of pollination in securing a stable food supply and fostering a biodiverse ecosystem.
Extension Master Gardener volunteers addressed 618 questions about pollinator health and habitat from gardeners who attended plant clinics.
A total of 110 classes delved into the importance of pollinator diversity, discussing the impact of human activities such as pesticide use, habitat destruction, air and light pollution, and invasive species on pollinator health.
Forty-eight demonstrations showcased strategies for promoting pollinator conservation, including creating habitats for native pollinators, opting for pesticide alternatives, using pesticides in pollinator-safe ways, and replacing lawns with landscaping plants friendly to pollinators.
In 45 hands-on workshops, participants actively engaged in creating habitats for pollinators and learned the art of cleaning solitary bee nests.
Nineteen field days provided participants with the opportunity to witness principles of pollinator health and habitat conservation in action.
Doing our part
In San Juan County, Extension Master Gardener volunteers installed mason and leaf cutter bee habitats in the Orcas Island School Garden. Hosting a workshop for twenty 5th-grade students and eight adults, the volunteers guided participants in harvesting and cleaning bee cocoons for winter storage. The attendees gained insights into the significance of native pollinators, pollinator life cycles, and strategies for creating nesting opportunities. Adult participants expressed their intention to incorporate and maintain mason and leaf cutter bee nesting materials in their own home landscapes.
In Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, WSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers integrated the significance of pollinators into a seed-saving workshop designed to provide individuals with strategies for cultivating their own food throughout different growing seasons. Attendees engaged in a seed bomb-making activity and were able to leave with clay seed bombs containing pollinator-attracting plants. The participants gained an understanding that pollinators and pollination play a crucial role in growing food and fostering a biodiverse garden, landscape, and ecosystem.
In Chelan and Douglas Counties, WSU Extension Master Gardeners collaborated with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish a pollinator garden at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery. Local school students utilize the garden as an educational resource to study plants, pollinators, and employ INaturalist. Additionally, during the Salmon Festival, 1,500 students were educated about the crucial role of pollinators in the production of the food they consume.