Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are essential to many ecosystems. They are responsible for plant pollination, which is necessary for their growth and reproduction. However, their numbers are declining due to various factors, including habitat loss and pesticide use.
Johanna Garrison, a passionate volunteer with the Sustainable Saratoga Pollinator Committee, is committed to preserving native plants and insects to help biodiversity.
"It is really important that, when we see the plant tag, we're actually getting a straight species so that it is a host plant for insects and so that we are propagating and sustaining insect life and the insect population,” Garrison said.
A garden of any size contributes significantly to the protection of pollinators. Planting native plants provides food and habitat. Many factors contribute to the endangerment, from climate change and global warming to pesticides and insecticides. In the absence of insects, the food web and all plants and animals can deplete over time, and if people don't do their part, things can become endangered.
"Insects will do fine without us, without human life, but we will not be able to exist without insects," Garrison said.
Pollinator Palooza is an annual event that celebrates the importance of pollinators and educates the public on how to protect them. The event includes a team of individuals that educates, informs, and gives attendees the opportunity to purchase native plants that contribute to the environment. On site were vendors who provided information on a variety of sustainable practices, including how to create your own compost, what insects need which plants, and what they need to thrive.
"We're finding a lot of people have very high alkaline soil or very high acidic soil,” said master gardener Sharon Arpey. “So they have to add different elements to their soil to get it to the right balance.”
“If everybody just did some gardening, just took out some of their grass and put in smart species, smart plants, then that would help,” Chris Burghart, a member of the Sustainable Saratoga Pollinator Committee, said. “That would be huge. We'd have our own homegrown National Park."
Pollinator Palooza is a fun and educational event for all ages. It provides an opportunity to learn about the importance of pollinators and how to protect them. For more information on pollinators and native plants, you can visit sustainablesaratoga.org.