Pollinator habitat workshop planned

Staff report

MAPLEWOOD — A pollinator wildlife habitat workshop will be held in Shelby County on June 29, 2016, from 5 to 8:30 pm. at Jim Scheer’s farm, 8800 Tawawa-Maplewood Road, Maplewood.

Wildlife professionals will be there to present the most current information on pollinator habitat. Topics like beekeeping, plant identification, milkweed and monarchs, and pollinators in woodlands will all be covered here. Most importantly, the workshop will provide landowners with the knowledge and skills to establish and manage pollinator-friendly habitat on their own properties.

As you’ve heard by now, Monarch butterflies, honey bees, and other pollinating insects have been declining at alarming rates throughout Ohio and the Midwest. Did you know that pollinators are responsible for over 15 billion dollars in agriculture each year? Without them, many of our favorite and most common foods would cease to exist. Adequate habitat is the most critical component lacking for many of these species.

Ideal pollinator habitat includes a diverse mixture of flowering plants, (wildflowers, legumes, shrubs, and trees) which will provide year-round cover and nectar sources. The presence of these pollinating insects will attract upland birds, like ring-necked pheasants, bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, and many songbird species. These protein-rich insects make up over 90 percent of a young bird’s diet, so creating this habitat is critical for their lifecycles as well.

The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) is a group of conservation partners focusing their efforts on creating pollinator-friendly habitat. Together, they are impacting properties of all sizes by creating more habitat for pollinating insects, and all wildlife species; and by providing education and assistance to those interested in learning about and helping pollinators. Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, Division of Forestry, Pheasants/Quail Forever, Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Ohio State University Extension, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Wild Turkey Federation and Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts are all sponsoring an event that you should be made aware of.

This event is $10 per person and includes dinner and a folder full of reference materials to take home. All participants must pre-register with the Shelby SWCD by June 24. A flyer with details and a registration form is available at www.Shelby.SWCD.org, Facebook or the Shelby SWCD Office at 822 Fair Road, Sidney, OH 45365. For further information or with questions, please contact Jason Jones, local Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist, at 937-423-0904 or [email protected]

Staff report