Bees, birds, butterflies, and even bats provide the very important service of pollination, which provides people with a wide variety of food and commercial products. With natural habitat or living space for pollinators becoming scarce and some pollinator populations on the decline, conservation efforts in urban and agricultural habitats are becoming more widespread. In the Chicago region, planting native species promotes local pollinator diversity by increasing livable habitat for plants that provide nectar and pollen resources to pollinators. Even new types of gardens, like green roofs, are now starting to include native plantings. Pollinators move pollen between many types of gardens and landscapes, including those in which we live. This presentation will describe the role of pollinators, provide an overview of their importance, describe how pollinator ecology research in the Chicago area is contributing to biodiversity conservation efforts, and suggest ways for people of all backgrounds to get involved with pollinator protection.
About the Presenter: Kelly Ksiazek Mikenas is a plant ecologist, teacher and PhD candidate in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. She is interested in urban plant ecology, pollination biology and green infrastructure. She has a background in biology and science education. Her plant biology and conservation research has documented the importance of pollinators to the reproduction of native wildflowers on green roofs. Mikenas? current doctoral research is examining how green roofs can be used to support pollinator biodiversity and conserve native prairie plants in Chicago.