Take steps to help bee, butterfly population

By Anna Smith - For The Register-Herald

EATON — On Dec. 5, Preble Soil and Water Conservation District will be holding a Pollinator Clinic to educate local residents about the decline of bees, butterflies and other related species. Many of these species have declined drastically in recent years, and establishment of habitat is needed to help rebuild their populations. Both small and large property owners can take small steps to help.

Many people have taken a special interest in the decline of Monarch butterflies. A goal has been set for increasing Monarch butterfly numbers by 2020, and whether the goal is reached will likely determine if the species will be federally listed as endangered. In contrast to many endangered species which have very limited habitats, Monarchs lives across the vast majority of the U.S. Their habitat is areas such as roadsides, fields, pastures, undeveloped areas, and backyards where wildflowers and milkweed grow, milkweed being the only plant where the butterflies will lay eggs. If the Monarch would be listed as endangered, regulations to protect them could be widespread and affect anyone who owns or manages property.

The decline of bees is gaining attention as well. Seven Hawaii native bee species were recently added to the endangered species list, marking the first time bees have been protected under the legislation. Another pollinator species that historically lived in Ohio, the Rusty Patch Bumblebee, is still under consideration to be listed as endangered. Other related species may follow, as many bee species are facing drastic decline.

Some people have become very passionate about protecting pollinator species, and the Monarch butterfly in particular. Others want to know what the big deal is. Regardless of your stance on this issue, you can come and learn more about what is happening at the upcoming program on Dec. 5 from 6:30-8 p.m. It will be held at the Grace Lutheran Church, located at 111 Lutheran Dr., Eaton. Topics discussed will include a summary of the decline of pollinator species, what’s in the news related to bees and butterflies, and how you can use your property to benefit pollinators. Attendees will be split up for the second part of the program. One group will focus on ideas for backyard gardening, and the other will discuss establishing larger pollinator planting areas and Natural Resources Conservation programs available for assistance. RSVP by Dec. 1 if you plan to attend by calling Preble SWCD at 937-456-5159.

By Anna Smith

For The Register-Herald