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.
Bees are the world’s primary pollinators. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, honeybees are responsible for pollinating one third of our nation’s food supply or one in every three bites of food we eat. It is estimated that honeybees account for $15 billion in added crop value. Bees are also responsible for pollinating 90% of wild plants, making them an invaluable part of our ecosystems.
Globally, bees are declining at an alarming rate. According to Ohio State Insights, commercial beekeepers in the United States have been reporting bee colony loss rates at 30% each winter since 2006. The Center for Biological Diversity says, more than half of the native bee species are declining; nearly 1 in 4 is imperiled and 40% of insect pollinators are highly threatened.
WSU Extension Master Gardeners are in a unique position to mitigate the decline of pollinators. As such they have increased their educational outreach efforts around pollinator importance and actions people can take to reduce loss.
The Washington State University Extension Master Gardener volunteers taught about the importance of pollinators and provided information for how home gardeners can impact the health of bees. In 2018:
- 1,477 adults learned about the importance of pollinators.
- 2,683 youth learned about the importance of pollinators.
- 2,097 classes on protecting pollinators were taught across Washington.
- 1,223 workshops on protecting pollinators were provided by Extension Master Gardener volunteers.
- Volunteers answered 900 questions about protecting pollinators.
- 2,475 residents learned about safe use of pesticides, which supports pollinator health.
Impacts of teaching about the importance of pollinators.
In Clark County, WSU Extension Master Gardeners have a focused educational outreach effort to home gardeners to mitigate the decline of pollinators. Through the implementation of a Pollinator Posse, volunteers have taught resident gardeners about the importance of pollinators, challenges pollinators face and the role that home gardeners play in protecting them. Volunteers, working in small teams, facilitated interactive discussions about how homeowners can help pollinators by creating supportive environs. Discussions included learning about threats to pollinator survival and specific actions gardeners can take to protect them. Each event culminated with the design and installation of a pollinator garden.
In Asotin and Garfield Counties, volunteers focused on youth outreach to spread the word about the importance of pollinators. Following Washington State Common Core learning standards, WSU Extension Master Gardeners taught lessons that focused on nutrition, scientific methods, and gardening practices. Students completed guided observations and experiments that demonstrated how animals, plants and the environment interact with each other to produce the foods we eat. 98% of the almost 2,400 youth taught learned about the importance of pollinators and what can be done to protect them.
In Chelan/Douglas Counties an ongoing partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the campus of the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery affords volunteers the opportunity to have a pollinator education garden. Each year youth from across our state who participate in Salmon Fest learn about salmon also learn about the importance of pollinators. Nearly 2000 adults and youth visited the pollinator garden and the pollinator station at Salmon Fest to learn about why providing habitat for pollinators is important.
2 0 1 8 by the numbers.
- 3,780 Certified volunteers.
- 580 new volunteers trained.
- 26,000 hours learning to be a WSU Master Gardener.
- Volunteers gave 253,500 hours of their time to WSU and the communities served.
- Volunteers earned 47,200 hours of continuing education.
- 3,680 plant clinics offered across the state answered 11,600 questions.
- 4,160 residents learned about pollinators.
- 4,750 residents learned about vegetable gardening.