The U.S. Forest Service-sponsored PollinatorLIVE: A Distance Learning Adventure will broadcast and webcast a live educational program with scientists and educators on the life-sustaining interaction of plants and insects from 11 a.m. to noon ET in English and from 1 to 2 p.m. ET in Spanish on April 13 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin.
Titled “Nature’s Partners: Pollinators, Plants and People,” the program will focus on pollination, plant-insect interactions, the importance of pollination to the food supply and what people can do to help pollinators. Viewers may send questions to be answered by the experts during the broadcast. There will also be times during the discussion when viewers will be polled on a variety of questions.
“PollinatorLIVE is an invaluable tool our Conservation Education team uses to reach students of nature, no matter their age,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “This program underscores our commitment to get everyone, especially kids, outside to enjoy America’s great outdoors.”
The program directly supports President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative, which seeks to address current and future challenges to sustaining and developing America’s natural resources. AGO takes as its premise that lasting conservation solutions should rise from the American people – that the protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective shared by all Americans. Youth-education programs are a central component of the initiative.
PollinatorLIVE is geared to students in fourth to eighth grades. However, people of all ages can enjoy and learn from the programs. For example, the “Nature’s Partners” program is intended for students and adults.
Over the past year, PollinatorLIVE has conducted a series of online field trips and other distance learning engagements with students, teachers and adults. The AGO Initiative lists these interactive events among other opportunities to build partnerships and educate at the grass-roots level. The activities connect kids to nature, and nature to kids.
While pollinators may come in small sizes, they play a large and often undervalued role in the production of the food, the health of flowering plants and the future of wildlife. A decline in the numbers and health of pollinators over the last several years poses a significant threat to the integrity of biodiversity, food webs and human health.
The program is being webcast on the PollinatorLIVE website and broadcast on many educational channels. HITN, the Spanish language public television network, will air the Spanish version of the program.
In addition to the Forest Service, other partners in this venture include Prince William County (Virginia) Schools, Partners in Resource Education and the National Environmental Education Foundation, among others.