MSU Awarded $6.9 Million Grant to Enhance Pollinator Habitats
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Some may refer to the job as super "sweet."
"So with my job I get to travel all over Michigan and look for wild bees," said MSU Entomologist Postdoctoral Research Associate Kelsey Graham. "And honey bees have seen a pretty big decline in the past decade."
A decline so large the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted MSU Entomology researchers with a $6.9 million grant to help protect honey bees, monarchs and wild bees.
As well as provide useful tips to honey bee farmers like Dean Cross.
"We've been keeping bees since about 2003," said Honey Bee Farmer Dean Cross.
Cross' lifestyle began with his son's curiosity in bees.
"So [my son] went out and bought 20 bee hives and boom got into it," said Cross.
While busy as can be, producing honey is not their only job.
"Bee's are the main pollinator that we all know about," said cross.
Pollinating important crops in Michigan like cherries, cucumbers, and blueberries.
But researchers fear that bees are not the only species facing a decline.
"Monarchs have seen a huge decline," said Meridian Township Parks Naturalist Kelsey Dillon.
Over 80 percent of the monarch population has declined in the past 20 years.
"Basically their habitat has been fragmented and destroyed in a lot of places," said Dillon.
Four years ago a local elementary school in Meridian township planted a pollinator garden in the Meridian's Historical Village. Dillon joined the project two years later after she was hired into the Parks and Recreation Department.
The garden is filled with milkweeds and monarchs rely on these flowers to rest and lay theirs eggs on during their long migration across the United States.
"These green spaces can really help the monarchs on their migration route," said Dillon.
Dillon agrees that for both bees and monarchs, planting wild flowers will continue to provide a home away from home.