This spring, the HWS Fribolin Farm has been hosting a series of events titled, “Pollination, Pollution and Your Plate.” The programs were focused on mobilizing the commitments of Bee Campus USA on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) and within the immediate Geneva community by raising environmental awareness and consciousness of pollinator habitat, air quality and of the need to sustain pollinators.
“As the economic influence of pollinators grow, their health and ecosystem efficiency is at risk due to air pollution. Certain highly reactive air pollutants, such as ozone, inhibit bees and other pollinators from detecting floral scents and decrease overall plant health, leading to reduced availability of flowering species,” says Food Systems Program Manager Sarah Meyer.
The final event, a children’s program on Clean Air Day during National Pollinator Week, took place on Thursday, June 20 at HWS Fribolin Farm. Local elementary school students, and community members were invited to learn about pollination and pollinators, specifically honeybees and beekeeping.
During the event, children learned about the impacts of air pollution on our pollinators. They made clay ‘seed bombs’ for their home gardens and neighborhoods;, learned about honey bees and practiced queen spotting; painted solitary bee hotels and honeybee hives and bird and butterfly houses and enjoyed a honey tasting representing different varietal honeys, including HWS Fribolin Farm honey, and foods pollinated by a variety of pollinators, such as beetles, birds, butterflies, wasps and bats. Participants also learned about flowers and how fruit, vegetables and seed are made through pollination and visited spaces on HWS Fribolin Farm that contain different flowers. The painted pollinator houses will be installed on the campus farm.
Previous programs included:
A Pollinator Seeding Party that took place on April 18 at Cornell AgriTech. in collaboration with the Growing Geneva Together Community Garden Coalition’s “Seeding Workshop” when attendees were provided seeds for planting perennial pollinator- friendly flowers and foods.
The ‘Creation of a Pollinator Patch’ was a two-day event on April 24 and May 31 at the Finger Lakes Institute. Volunteers prepared and planted a 300 square foot area on the HWS campus to become a perennial pollinator patch. Attendees learned about the value of pollinators, the impact of air pollution on them and the significance of their potential loss to our edible plate. Refreshments included foods and drink that are made possible by pollinators.
A Pollinator Plant Giveaway was held on May 18 at the East Lakeview Community Garden (70 Clark Street). Participants had the opportunity to select and take home pollinator- friendly plant for their home gardens or community garden beds. The plants were grown and reared at HWS Fribolin Farm and Cornell Agritech.
These five free, public events were coordinated by HWS Fribolin Farm through support received from the Genesee Finger Lakes Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association Earth Day Grant Program in coordination with Bee Campus USA-HWS, the Growing Geneva Together Community Garden Coalition, Cornell AgriTech, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County Master Gardener Volunteers and the Finger Lakes Institute.
To learn more, contact Sarah Meyer at HWS Fribolin Farm at firstname.lastname@example.org.