Celebrating Wildflowers News Current Year

May 2017

National Pollinator Week, June 19-25, 2017

Posted May 25, 2017

monarch butterfly.
Adult monarch butterfly. Photo by Anne-Marie Conard.

On May 24, 2017, Secretary Sonny Perdue proclaimed June 19-25, 2017, as National Pollinator Week. Since 2007, the Secretary of Agriculture has increased public awareness of the critical role that pollinators play in the lives of Americans and the ecosystems we depend upon for our survival.

Animal pollinators, primarily bees and other insects, provide the critical ecosystem service of pollination. Eighty percent of all flowering plants depend upon pollination for reproductive success. This ecosystem service is critical to our national security and food security, as one in three mouthfuls of food depend upon pollination. Pollination is critical to maintaining the health and productivity of our national forests, grasslands, and agricultural lands.

Read more about pollinators on Celebrating Wildflowers…

National Wildflowers Week

Posted May 16, 2017

Colorado Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) flower
Colorado Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea). Photo by Steve Olson.

A proclamation by the Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America. In recognition of the significance of our precious natural heritage of native flora, Michael L. Young, Acting Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, proclaimed May 21-27, 2017, as National Wildflowers Week. “I call upon the people of the United States to join me in celebrating the United States Department of Agriculture's management of native wildflowers and other plants as well as the enduring benefits provided to society by native plant resources in America's National Forests and Grasslands.”

Read the proclamation (PDF)…

Managed Bumblebees Pollinate Blueberry Crops Efficiently

Posted May 12, 2017

Brochure cover.
The common Eastern bumblebee is one of 46 native bumblebee species in the U.S. Photo by Sam Droege, USGS.

Flowering plants and pollinators depend on each other. It’s a global truism, and it’s true on a 440 acre blueberry farm in northern Florida.

“Bumblebees are extremely efficient pollinators,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Joseph O’Brien. “In the time it takes a honeybee to pollinate a single blueberry flower, a bumblebee can pollinate as many as six.”

Wild bumblebees—and there are 46 native bumblebee species—pollinate for free. But farmers often rent honeybees. Honeybees are trucked in when blueberry bushes bloom, and trucked out when the blooms fade. They crisscross the country on 18-wheelers, traveling from one crop to another.

Read more about bumble bees and blueberries on the Southern Research Station's CompassLive…

Changes in Forest Conditions Have Contributed to Pollinator Decline

Posted May 2, 2017

Brochure cover.
Dense stands of young pine trees support few pollinators. Photo by Jim Hanula, U.S. Forest Service.

Forests in North America have changed rapidly over the past century. Before European settlement, forests were a mosaic of open pine and hardwood forests, prairies, and woodland savannas. Recent studies have found that forests with sun-filled openings and those with open canopies—where the branches from adjacent trees don’t touch or overlap—favor pollinators like bees and butterflies.

However, North American forests have shifted towards closed canopies, resulting in less light reaching the forest floor. Underneath the canopy, many of these forests have dense layers of shrubs. The changes have been profound and could be contributing to pollinator decline.

See the Southern Research Station web page describing this contributor to pollinator decline…

April 2017

Brochure cover.

Maintaining and Improving Habitat for Hummingbirds in the Western U.S.

Posted April 28, 2017

The Forest Service and Pollinator Partnership developed land manager’s guides to provide general information and native plant lists for regions of the western United States.

See the hummingbird guides…


Trees for Bees poster.

Trees for Bees

Posted April 20, 2017

Trees provide an abundant and dense supply of nectar and pollen in one place. This allows bees to spend less energy searching for food. Trees that bloom in spring are important to support bees that have depleted their winter store of honey. Look up, next time you are walking around looking at wildflowers!

Visit the Pollinator Partnership to see the poster…

March 2017

The Forest Farmer | That's Amazing

Posted March 30, 2017

Aerial view of Charles Bessey Tree Nursery, a clip from the video

About one-third of the United States is covered in forests, but in places like Colorado, those forests are in danger. There's fire, pest infestations, and global warming to contend with—fortunately, there's hope. At the Charles Bessey Tree Nursery in Halsey, Nebraska, Forest Service biologist Richard Gilbert is on a mission to preserve and repopulate national forests in the Rockies. When disaster strikes, Gilbert's seasonal labors in raising trees for the repopulating mission go to good use.

See the YouTube video about the Charles Bessey Tree Nursery…

January 2017

The National Forest Genetics Lab (NFGEL) FY16 Annual Report

Posted January 9, 2017

Pollinator-Friendly Best Management Practices For Federal Lands cover.

The National Forest Genetics Laboratory (NFGEL) provides genetic testing and information for integrated solutions to on-the-ground problems faced by natural resource managers and policy makers. NFGEL has published their Fiscal Year 2016 Annual report describing the laboratory's activities and accomplishments.

Their work guided restoration and conservation efforts, identified mislabeled reforestation material and unwanted hybrids between native and exotic species, and determined if tested plants were species and/or varieties that warranted special protection.

Read NFGEL's report (PDF, 3.6 MB)…

Celebrating Wildflowers News

Wildflower Viewing Areas

Find places to view wildflowers on your national forests and grasslands.

All Wildflower Viewing Areas…