Tomorrow is Pollinator Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
Pollinators are an essential part of our lives as their everyday work ensures full harvests, healthy plants and beautiful flowers. Did you know there are more than 200,000 different species of pollinators? Many you may see in your own backyard! Bees, beetles, ants, butterflies, hummingbirds and even bats are all pollinators!
Here are a few quick and easy tips you can do to help these animals keep our world beautiful and healthy:
- Plant for pollinators! Ask your local nursery what kinds of plants attract certain animals. Want butterflies? How about bees? You have experts in your very own community that can help you determine what to grow in your area to attract your local pollinators and give them food and homes.
- Reduce your impact by minimizing or eliminating your use of potentially harmful pesticides. If pesticides are necessary in your area, apply them at night when most pollinators aren’t active.
- Create your very own watering hole. A suspended milk carton with a pinhole in the bottom is sufficient for some insects. Other species, like butterflies, need a small container of water. Refill these containers as often as you can.
- Get connected with nature! Take a walk, experience the landscape and look for pollinators in sunny, planted areas.
At Rafiki’s Planet Watch, we will play interactive games, answer trivia questions and highlight how we can help pollinators all over the world. Join us at the “Elephants and Bees” display to learn how Dr. Joseph Soltis, research scientist for Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment, and teammates are using the knowledge gained from studying our elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to help humans, bees and elephants live in harmony in Kenya. Our smaller guests can transform into human-sized bees during “Build-a-Bee,” and we will show clips from Disneynature’s “Wings of Life” film. If we are lucky, we may even catch some of our pollinating pals in action!
Pollinators are truly “buzzworthy” workers that provide us with one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat (including chocolate!) and give us a bright, beautiful, colorful world. Celebrate with us at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and show appreciation for pollinators every day. You can learn even more about pollinators and plants in your area by visiting pollinator.org.
I asked a local beekeeper about the theories behind the bee shortage–whether it was cellphone signals, or climate change, or genetically-altered farm plants that produce their own pesticide (including the pollen)–and he thought it might be a combination of many causes, including some of the bees’ own parasites.
There’s no easy answer, but pollinators need all the help they can get, and speaking out against genetic pesticides is one way people can help.