On December 20, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 3rd as UN World Wildlife Day. According to wildlifeday.org, this day has now become the most important global event dedicated to wildlife.
In 2020, the theme for this observance is “Sustaining All Life on Earth.” On this day, the world will celebrate the special place of wild plants and animals as part of the world’s biological diversity and raise awareness on wildlife and plant conservation. How can we celebrate this day in our own backyard? For wildlife awareness we will focus on bees, while we will look at the importance of gardening for plants.
What’s the Buzz on Bees?
Many people may not realize how important bees are to our world. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 80% of the food we eat is pollinated by bees! The crops pollinated by bees are not just a food source for humans, they are also food sources for animals like dairy and beef cows. However, bees are in danger. The population of bees continues to decrease causing bee conservation efforts to increase.
Many people know Pauline Sturgill as the Director of the Williamson Housing Authority, but she also works on her family farm known as Sturgill Mountain Homestead. There they grow crops, flowers, raise livestock, are beekeepers, and so much more.
“Few understand that crop production across the globe is dependent on bee pollination. Bees travel from bloom to bloom, seeking nectar. This is how pollination occurs. Imagine a farmer with acres of corn and bean plants. Without bees in the fields seeking nectar, there would be no corn or beans as the blooms wouldn’t be fertilized. No farmer can possibly hand pollinate the hundreds, thousands, or even millions of blooms,” explains Pauline.
Pauline goes on to explain she doesn’t think people understand how important bees are. Growing up she remembers children were taught about agriculture in schools. Students raised plants, went on field trips to farms and botanical gardens. However, she says she’s noticed the public education system now focuses less on social studies and science and more on sports and entertainment. This lack of knowledge is changing our world.
Respect the Gardens and Gardeners
At first glance, you would think World Wildlife Day is only about animals, but it also raises awareness of crops, cultivating lands, and conserving our natural flora. As we continue to discuss WWD with Pauline she discusses the benefits of gardening, whether for food production or to grow a beautiful garden of plants and flowers to enjoy.
Pauline says, “Gardening is exercise and can be much more fun and relaxing than a workout class. Gardening is rewarding as you reap what you sow. There’s nothing cooler than pulling out your own homegrown fruits and veggies at lunch, while everyone looks on enviously! At SMH we raise most of what we eat, so we know where it comes from and what is in it. No chemicals, and for animals no steroids and antibiotics.”
To Pauline, a gardener looks at your yard and sees a blank canvas and every spring she paints the canvas in new colors for the world to enjoy.
“One can’t be a gardener and be lazy. Therefore, folks respect a gardener,” concludes Pauline.
Teaching the importance of respecting our land and animals is of vital importance to our world. Respecting our wildlife, both flora and fauna, will ensure a healthier future for generations to come.
You can find more information on World Wildlife Day on their web page.
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