Education is the foundation of every healthy, prosperous, and successful society. Education not only provides individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in life, but also enables them to contribute to their communities and our world in significant ways. Educating children is especially important because they represent the future of our society, and by equipping them with education and knowledge we are investing in our future. Our next generations are the most important and most affected stakeholders when talking about our global and environmental future. The Mia Taylor Foundation believes we owe future generations the opportunity to learn more about the environment and ways in which they can protect and improve it, even if is just one person, tree, butterfly, or bee at a time.
Trees provide many benefits to our communities by improving air quality and cleaning the air we breathe, filtering the water we drink, absorbing carbon dioxide and methane emissions (harmful greenhouse gas emissions, carbon emissions, and carbon pollution), provide habitat to over 80% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, provide jobs for over 1.5 billion people worldwide, provide key ingredients in 25% of all medicines, and so much more.
Meet Our Pollinators
Bees are the most important of all pollinators. Honeybees, for example, are responsible for pollinating over 110 crops that we eat and use every day. They visit flowers to drink nectar or feed off of pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from spot to spot. Bumble bees pollinate plants out in nature, helping to keep our ecosystems healthy, but they are also commercially valuable as pollinators of many crops.
Several bumble bee species are rapidly declining. The western bumble bee, the yellow banded bumble bee and the Franklin’s bumble bee have all vanished from large portions of their range and the rusty-patched bumble bee was recently listed as officially endangered. Scientists report similar losses across Europe, South America and Asia. Bumble bees face many threats, including habitat loss, pesticides, introduced diseases, climate change and competition from honey bees.
These beautiful creatures are ambassadors of nature. Yet these butterflies, once a familiar sight, are plummeting toward extinction due to threats from pesticides, land development and climate change. Butterflies need to overwinter in forests where the temperature is reasonably low so that their metabolism is not too demanding, but not so low that they freeze. Therefore, higher temperatures and erratic freezing events due to climate change threaten the butterflies' ability to survive hibernation.
More than 80 percent of land plants are pollinated by animals such as butterflies. Pollen sticks to the bodies of these pollinators when they feed on nectar, a sugary fluid produced by flowering plants to attract pollinators.
Miscellaneous Pollinators - (Including 2,000 bird species)
Hummingbirds, Ladybugs, Orioles, Sunbirds, Honeycreepers (Hawaii), Honeyeaters (Australia), Brush-tongued Parrots (New Guinea), Bats, Lemurs, Moths, and many more.
About 2,000 bird species help pollinate the world’s plants, from parrots in New Guinea to hummingbirds across North America. Birds tend to prefer bright red, orange and yellow flowers that are open during daylight hours, but they aren’t drawn to fragrant blooms. The Forest Service tells us that, while beaks give birds the advantage in scoring nectar from plants with caps, funnels and tubes, they don’t have a keen sense of smell.
Ladybugs pollinate flowers in addition to protecting your favorite garden plants from aphid damage. They move pollen and fertilize the flowers as they move among them, allowing them to produce seeds. They choose flowering plants with lots of leaves for hiding spots.
Life Without Pollinators
Why Are Pollinators Important to Us? Pollinators are essential to human survival. To produce seeds and reproduce, Almost 90% of the world's flowering plant species rely on animal pollinators. Pollinators provide services to over 180,000 different plant species, and more than 1,200 crops. Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. That’s one out of every three bites of food you eat! More than 3,500 species of native bees help increase crop yields. Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths, birds and bats, and beetles and other insects.
If for a moment we were to imagine life without pollinator species, we would have to start with the disappearance of highly specialized crops such as apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, melon, peaches, potatoes, vanilla, almonds, coffee and chocolate.. These fruits all depend on bees and other to reproduce. Bees are also responsible for the global crop yield of cacao and coffee beans – say goodbye to your morning buzz. Native bees alone provide over $5 billion in crop pollination services every year in the United States.
The economic ramifications of this would be staggering, considering bee species pollinate 70 crop species out of 100 that feed around 90% of the world’s population. Supply chains would be broken by decreasing agricultural output, likely creating conflicts as countries struggled to feed their people. If we lose the plants that bees pollinate, that would create trophic cascades (powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems) when animals that depend on those plants lose their sources of food. Our world would become bland, lifeless and devoid of color if native bee species ever went extinct.
The decline of species like native bees isn’t just an environmental issue. It carries implications for agriculture, economic stability and global security. These precious pollinators provide stability to human systems and ecosystems, but still aren’t able to recover from their own population losses. We need to speak up for the little critters and use a holistic strategy of advocacy and research to address the dangers they are currently facing.
Facilitating Pollinator Conservation Education
The Mia Taylor Foundation's mission is to promote the health of pollinators by promoting and implementing early education and educational programs.
The nearly invisible ecosystem service by pollinator is a precious resource that requires attention and support. Pollinators need our help and scientists who have been studying pollinators for more than three decades have been able to show that pollinator conservation efforts and techniques do work. With so much at stake, it is critical that we teach students, of all ages, about the importance of pollinators and their role in a healthy and sustainable ecosystem.