What do bees, butterflies, and birds have in common? They are all pollinators and play a critical role in the food we eat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, beetles, and other animals.

Mercer Botanic Gardens celebrates the world of pollinators at its first-ever Pollinator Festival and Fall Plant Sale Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We’ll share information about these fascinating insects and animals, and give visitors tips and tricks for attracting them to their own backyards,” says Jennifer Garrison, education director at Mercer.

The event features presentations on monarch conservation, butterfly host and nectar plants, honeybees, beekeeping, and other pollinator topics. Visitors can spend time at exploration stations, and Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions about pollinator-friendly host and nectar plants.

For children, the event features pollinator-themed games, face painting, and photo opportunities. Families can also check out books from the Little Blue Library, Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library’s pop-up site at Mercer.

Pollinator Plant Sale

As part of the festival, The Mercer Society (TMS) will have pollinator-friendly plants for sale. “Buyers can choose from more than 1,000 plants across 30 different species,” says TMS grower Brandon Hubbard.
Hubbard explains that pollinators are in decline globally due to habitat destruction, overuse of pesticides, invasive species, and other factors. “Sometimes people buy a fruit or vegetable plant and wonder why the plant never produces.

Vegetable and fruit crops require pollination in order to develop. If there are no pollinators in your area, the garden you’ve dreamed of will never bear fruit or vegetables. Creating a pollinator-friendly garden not only helps increase the number of area pollinators, but in turn helps your garden as well.”

Proceeds from the plant sale will aide TMS in providing funding for future Mercer educational events. “Pollinators are critical for global food security. I encourage you to come out to the festival to celebrate these amazing creatures and learn how you can play a part in their survival,” Garrison says.