Put down that cup of coffee that’s saving your morning. Also, no strawberries on your favorite multigrain hot cereal. The savory goodness of an eggplant-parmesan sub, a taste you’ve loved since childhood, that you were perhaps craving for lunch or dinner? Won’t happen. Whew, it’s going to be 94 degrees today, and it’s barely the first day of summer? Too bad you can’t wear your favorite summer T-shirt to keep cool. And, sorry, no glass of wine at dusk to take the edge off this comfortless day.
It sounds harsh, almost ludicrous. However, everything denied in the foregoing paragraph — coffee beans, berries, flax, alfalfa, quinoa, eggplant, tomatoes, cotton, grapes — represents a crop that will be lost if honeybees and other crucial plant pollinators become extinct. And those are just a scant handful of plants on a very long list. (“Colony Collapse Disorder,” i.e. the mysterious disappearance of natural hives, was formally identified in 2006.)
Pollinator Week, an international initiative, happens June 18-25 — and having the “week” be eight days seems appropriate, given the gravity of the situation. A passage on the website of the Hendersonville page lays it out this way: “[It’s a] celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, and other species that help pollinate more than 1,200 crops. That means one out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators. In addition, 75%-95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help from pollinators to reproduce. Because of this, pollinators also support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, and support other wildlife.”
The local push is a-buzz with activity, educational and interactive events sponsored variously by the Hendersonville Community Co-op, environmental consortium MountainTrue, the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Bullington Gardens, the Henderson County Beekeepers Association, Green River Preserve, and other area stakeholders. The keynote address happens June 21 and features Heather Holm, a noted national activist and touring author of Pollinators of Native Plants.
“Hendersonville just become a Bee City USA certified community in May of last year,” notes Kim Bailey of the Henderson County Beekeepers. “In addition to planting areas to support pollinators, the city’s certification commitments include holding at least one educational event each year, usually during National Pollinator Week in June. This year, thanks to the involvement of over a dozen different local organizations, we are able to offer nine separate events in Hendersonville and the surrounding area.”
For a complete list of happenings during Pollinator Week, June 18-25, see hendersonvillenc.gov/bee-city