This past weekend, the Sebastian County Conservation District hosted a Pollinator Party at Ben Geren Park.
The conservation, which was founded in 1945, works to help Sebastian County landowners implement the newest scientifically founded conservation practices to improve the sustainability of farming and land operations.
The pollinator party was an educational event. Conservation members distributed 58 species of native forbs and another nine species of native grasses.
“There is enough seed in the packets to cover about 100 sq ft. We created these packets to encourage people with limited yard space to plant these native species, and in turn support our local pollinators,” shared Scott Whittingham, Forestry and Wildlife Technician. “The diversity of the species is important for many reasons. Some species flower at different times of the year. Having a large range of species offers pollinators a longer window of access to the pollen and nectar that these forbs contain. Also, pollinators don’t consider all forbs the same. Some pollinator species will only utilize certain species of forbs. Having a large range of forb species encourages a more diverse collection of pollinator species. These can include well known pollinators such as bees and butterflies, to lesser-known pollinators such as beetles, ants and bats!”
The event was designed to raise awareness and educate people on the importance of native pollinator species and the role those species play in supporting the natural processes of our region.
“The amount of information that exists on pollinators and pollinator habitat can be sometimes unclear or overwhelming, so we created this event to offer this information in a clear and practical way,” continued Whittingham. “We hope that those who attend will take away a better understanding of the importance of our native pollinator species, and the actions they can take right at home that will help to improve pollinator habitat.”
The SCCD hosted several field tours and walks around Massard Prairie to show examples of the native species and habitat improvement practices that have been put place. Jessica Cox with Quail Forever gave tours on quail and pollinator habitats. Jennifer Ogle offered botany walks. Jay Randolph with Sebastian County Parks offered a tour on restoration efforts. Lastly, Lori Spencer, author of Arkansas Butterflies and Moths, guided a plant and butterfly walk.
“There are many agencies and organizations that have partnered for this event,” concluded Whittingham. “All are more than happy to answer any questions and assist in helping to implement these practices in any way they can.”
Sebastian County Conservation District 3913 is located at Brooken Hill Dr St 200Fort Smith, AR 72908. You can contact them at 479-431-3257.