Dallas Zoo’s Zoo Corps youth-led conservation team guest-blogs on ZooHoo! Our group of 13 Corps members worked together to select a conservation issue, develop a solution, and put it into action. Here’s their story.
Our planet is in the midst of a pollination crisis. Because of human actions, pollinators are facing extinction – making plants around the world unable to reproduce. If we don’t make changes, this crisis could spark a major food shortage, and possibly a global famine.
Nature is a truly wondrous thing. Even people who live in urban areas, like Dallas, can enjoy the beauty of nature. Pollination is an extremely important process that happens to be the quickest and most efficient process to help flowering plants reproduce. Without pollination, flowering plants would have to rely on wind and water to reproduce, which is an extremely sluggish method.
So what exactly are pollinators? A pollinator is an animal that transports pollen from one plant to another, fertilizing the plants. Pollinators include birds, bees, insects and bats, along with a large variety of other organisms. Without pollinators the earth would eventually be reduced into a mere wasteland.
How is pollination carried out? When an organism goes towards a flower to get its nectar, it brushes against the flower. The flower will sense this and release pollen onto the organism. This organism will go to other plants for more nectar. When the animal does this its drops off the pollen from the other plant, pollinating that plant.
Unfortunately, thousands of species of pollinators die every year from habitat loss, pollution, car exhaust, pesticides and more. Bees are earth’s biggest pollinators and their populations are rapidly dwindling. We lose about 30 percent of the bee population each year.
Because the Dallas Zoo cares so much for pollinators, we built a pollination garden through our Zoo Corps event called Operation Pollination. We planted 72 native plants in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo including, purple cone flower, milkweed, blackfoot daisy and more. We also made and distributed 414 “seed bombs” filled with Texas native pollinator seeds for guests to easily plant their yards. We also installed two hummingbird feeders and one bat box for our local pollinators to enjoy.
If you didn’t make it out to our event, you can still help pollinators by planting your own garden with plants that are native to Texas. (See photos from our event and our entire Zoo Corps experience on our Instagram page!)