‘The Year of the Pollinator’ takes flight at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens | VailDaily.com

‘The Year of the Pollinator’ takes flight at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Daily staff report
Walter Lurie, of Denver, examines pictures in the “Pollinators: Keeping Company with Flowers” exhibit at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Education Center. The traveling exhibit is on display through Friday, June 30.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens | Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: “Pollinators: Keeping Company with Flowers” exhibit, underwritten by Jinny Browning and the town of Vail.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays through Friday, June 30.

Where: Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Education Center, Ford Park, 522 South Frontage Road E., Vail, just west of the playground.

Cost: Free.

More information: Call 970-476-0103, or visit http://www.bettyfordalpinegardens.org for more information about pollinator workshops and presentations.

VAIL — With the health of pollinators declining at an alarming rate across the world, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens decided to tackle the issue head on by dubbing 2017 The Year of the Pollinator.

Education is the first step in reducing and, hopefully, reversing the trend, starting locally. By participating in one or more educational opportunities at the gardens this summer, residents and area businesses can help improve the pollinator health of our area. A traveling exhibit and a series of workshops, presentations and resources both in the gardens’ library and on its website aim to entertain, inform and instruct.

Through Friday, June 30, the traveling exhibit “Pollinators: Keeping Company with Flowers” displays the relationship between insects and the flowers they pollinate. The exhibition is on display at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Education Center, located west of the playground in Vail’s Ford Park. The presentation explores the diversity of native pollinators and their flowers through a series of vivid photographs.

Pollinators are responsible for assisting the reproduction of the world’s flowering plants. The plants have co-evolved with their pollinators throughout millions of years. The result is a variety of flowers and pollinating techniques revealed through the exhibits photographs.

“Pollinator populations are decreasing, and without them, the fruits, berries and seeds animals and humans depend on will be gone.” Nanette KuichEducation coordinator, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Decreasing populations

“Pollinator populations are decreasing, and without them, the fruits, berries and seeds animals and humans depend on will be gone,” said Nanette Kuich, the education coordinator for Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

When people think of pollinators, bees, the most effective pollinators, come to mind first. Did you know it is native bees — not honeybees — that are the major contributors to pollination in the food chains of the western world? Hands-on workshops throughout the summer will help show residents what they can do to help our area pollinators.

On June 22, Pollinator Habitat Heroes teaches how to create wildlife-friendly gardens that help create habitats for pollinators, including native bees. Additional workshops include Citizen Science butterfly count training on June 7 and how to build a pollinator garden on June 20.

Dr. David Inouye of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory will share his research on how global and regional climate change has affected wildflowers and animals in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on June 15. Then, on Sept. 14, Robb Schorr, of Colorado State University’s Natural Heritage Program, will reveal the wonder of bats through their evolution and ecology.

The Pollinator Garden is also the newest addition to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, thanks to Kelly and Sam Bronfman and Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer in Vail. The Pollinator Garden, located east of the Education Center, will display a colorful array of native plants that pollinators rely on for food. Due to be installed this spring, the garden is intended to teach visitors and local growers how to attract pollinators such as butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

The Kirsten E. Liebhaber Memorial Library, housing the valley’s most extensive collection of books on alpine plants and gardening in the mountain environment, is located in the Education Center. Supporters of Betty Ford Alpine Gardens are allowed to check out books at no charge. This resource, which includes guidebooks to recognizing local bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, is also easily researched through the town of Vail Public Library portal at http://www.marmot.org.

The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens website, http://www.bettyfordalpinegardens.org, also has a list of informative sources and area experts, as well as a link to the library. A limited number of seats are available for the speaker series and workshops. To sign up, visit the website or call 970-476-0103, ext. 5.

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