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When we slow down, we see amazing things at The Pollination Place

By Cindy Harper, PPRV volunteer

As a longtime volunteer and supporter of Pollinator Project Rogue Valley, I've had the pleasure of helping create the Pollinator Count Project.

Native plants were first installed on this site in early 2020, and since then, with just a little watering to get established, and in spite of the fire and high summer heat, the plants have been thriving! These aren’t just any plants. By definition native plants are adapted to where they live. So they are adapted to our hot dry summers and mild winters. And, since our native pollinators evolved with them over millions of years, they often serve the native pollinators best, especially the caterpillars of butterflies and moths that are not able to eat non-native plants.

As part of our pollinator counts, I had the opportunity to work with two other volunteers, Karin Wares and Eva Theimann. The three of us, with Kristina Lefever, all learned together. Although it doesn’t take much experience to understand this fairly simple process, I decided to ask Karin and Eva what they thought of our counts and what they learned.

Karin, Cindy, and Eva, counting in 2021, photo by K. Lefever

Here’s what Karin had to say:

Cindy (CH): What made you decide to get involved in the pollinator counts at the Pollination Place?

Karin (KW): I wanted to extend my energies a little beyond my own gardens. I started doing the counts at PPRV because I wanted to support the efforts being made locally to focus on and support pollinators. I’ve been aware of their plight and concerned about the threat to these amazing little creatures.

CH: What involvement have you had with pollinators in the past?

KW: Since painting our endemic Franklin's Bumblebee for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s habitat conservation project I found myself having more exposure to what’s going on locally in this realm and began getting more acquainted with Pollinator Project Rogue Valley.

CH: How difficult is it exactly to count pollinators?

KW: We use a science based procedure to document their presence methodically, using the Pollinator Monitoring Data Sheet, which is adapted from a data collection document created by the Xerces Society.