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Events celebrate pollinator week

A group of local OSU Extension Master Gardeners and Bee City USA-Salem supporters tour the pollinator garden at Waterworth Memorial Park Monday evening during the first of three events in Salem to celebrate National Pollinator Week June 21-27. Pictured from left are: Sara Baer, Bee City USA; Charlene Hughes, Master Gardener; Carolyn Caldwell, Bee City USA; Natalie Fraser, Master Gardener; and Marilyn McKinley, Master Gardener. A bee program will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Smucker House pollinator garden, with a pollinator garden open house from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Burchfield Homestead Museum. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

SALEM — Local residents can learn all about pollinators and the plants that attract them during events in Salem celebrating National Pollinator Week through Sunday.

The lessons began Monday at Waterworth Memorial Park’s pollinator garden, where OSU Extension Master Gardeners and members of Bee City USA-Salem gathered with educational handouts and snacks and led tours among the various plants where bees and butterflies hover.

“The whole idea of doing this is to educate people about our pollinators,” OSU Extension Master Gardener Marilyn McKinley said.

Pollinators, particularly bees, are necessary to life on the planet because they transfer pollen from plant to plant so the plants flower and produce fruit or other crops. With bee populations declining, there’s been a push to plant bee-friendly gardens.

Salem is now a Bee City USA through Salem Parks and Recreation, with plans to hold a number of programs to teach the community the best plants for pollinators and how to create a pollinator garden.

“Small steps to make a big impact,” Sara Baer said.

Baer is involved in Bee City USA-Salem, along with Carolyn Caldwell and both belong to organizations hosting events this week.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Bruce Zimmer will lead a program about bees and butterflies and how the public can help them. The program will take place in the pollinator garden at Smucker House on South Broadway. Caldwell helps to oversee the Smucker House.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, residents are invited to a pollinator garden open house at the Burchfield Homestead Museum on East Fourth Street. Baer serves as president of the Burchfield Homestead Society.

McKinley said Bee City USA isn’t about bringing in bee hives — it’s about planting gardens that are bee-friendly to promote pollination. One of the master gardeners said it’s about having food. According to a handout on bees, 35 percent of the food eaten depends on pollination by bees, honey bees will fly up to 4 miles from the hive to collect water, nectar and pollen and they visit 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.

“Bees aren’t out to sting you,” McKinley said.

Some of the perennials suggested for a pollinator garden include butterfly weed, bee balm, milkweed, Russian sage, allium, coneflowers, pansies, petunias, Lantana, alyssum and bachelor buttons. Annuals include zinnia, cosmos, sunflowers, salvia, verbena, coreopsis, yarrow, glory flower, anise hyssop, Black-eyed Susan and phlox.

Besides McKinley, other master gardeners on hand were Marge Greenisen, Merabeth Steffen, Kathy Costa, Natalie Fraser and Charlene Hughes.

To learn more about National Pollinator Week, visit pollinator.org.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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