Nature Walk: Bumblebees


Bumblebees probably aren’t given enough credit for the pollination services they perform. They’re a life-sustainer for a host of native flowers and some agricultural crops, like red clover, a hay crop. Here we see one preparing to enter a bottle gentian flower, which they have to physically open to get inside to collect the nectar, and on a tall thistle.


If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo or requesting information on possible use of any of our “Nature Walk” photographs, please contact Carl Kurtz at View our other Nature Walk posts!

DeCook Field Day

Buffalo roam DeCook's ranch in Monroe County. (Photo by Ron Huelse)

Buffalo roam DeCook’s ranch in Monroe County. (Photo by Ron Huelse)

INHF board member Mike DeCook will host a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day at his ranch in Lovilia on Tuesday, July 28, from 1-4 p.m. The afternoon will be an opportunity for guests to brush up on their pollinator, prairie and bison-grazing education. Continue reading

Protecting pollinators with Plant.Grow.Fly.

A buckeye butterfly spreads its wings in Van Buren County.

A buckeye butterfly spreads its wings in Van Buren County. (Photo by Lora Conrad)

Did you know this week is National Pollinator Week? It’s important to celebrate—and protect—pollinators like butterflies and bees that are so vital to our ecosystems. More than one-third of the global food supply depends on pollinators like these. Continue reading

Restoring pollinator habitat – one Patch at a time

Benjamin Reynard of Dubuque has started a Kickstarter campaign to restore a million acres of pollinator habitat.

Because pollination services from native bees, butterflies and other pollinators are vital to our environment, Reynard developed the Pollinator Patch, packed with a specialized pollinator seed mix. The patches will provide “optimal floral resources and diversity for our native pollinators.”

The patch concept has three aspects:

  1. Native pollinator-optimized seed mixes are offered in five sizes: 1,000 sq. ft./4,000 sq. ft./.25 acre/.5 acre/and 1 acre patches. They can be used in small city yards, suburban yards, pastures, meadows and large acreages.
  2. Pollinator Patch map and patch tags The patches are measured and quantified on the Patch Map, which allows users to plant a unique Patch Tag found in the seed mix bag. Patch Tags can be later updated with pictures of pollinators at work or of floral resources in bloom.
  3. Pollinator Patch Global Network allows the restoration, protection and enhancement of pollination networks between plants and animals with goals of a more interconnected conservation paradigm and purchasing permanent conservation easements for pollinator refuges.
As of now, the patches are shipped directly to customers (via
Kickstarter) but will soon be available for purchase in garden
and home improvement stores.