Mary Nolan, a volunteer with Irvine Ranch Conservancy since 2015, leads programs at the Conservancy’s one-of-a-kind Native Seed Farm to teach the public more about pollination. Mary explains that the work of pollination is shared by bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, bats, birds and even the wind! Mary says pollination occurs when its practitioners “visit flowers to drink nectar or feed off of pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from spot to spot.” This ensures proliferation of the species. While pollination is often a byproduct of an animal’s natural feeding behavior on a flower, it is an incredibly important process that affects the entire food chain.
If you don’t have outdoor space, you can still help by signing up for a stewardship activity at the Native Seed Farm. The farm grows and harvests seed from more than 50 native plant species for use in restoration projects across the Landmarks. These plants form a symbiotic relationship with local pollinators in which each relies on the other for survival, and the farm has become a haven for insects, bees, butterflies, and birds. “We’ve identified at least five different [hummingbird] species at the Native Seed Farm in the three years it has been in its current location,” says Mary. The farm’s bee population is growing too, with an assist from an Eagle Scout who created and installed native bee habitats on the Farm’s premises.
If you want to learn more, join Mary Nolan for Wildflowers & Pollinators at the Native Seed Farm every other Sunday. You will go for an educational walk to admire the blooms, learn which plants attract which pollinators, and hear about how the plants are used in local restoration efforts. Find more activities like these on letsgooutside.org