ST. PAUL -- Pollinators play a critical role in keeping the environment healthy, help produce food, and are beautiful and fascinating to watch. During National Pollinator Week June 22-28, and year-round, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages Minnesotans to appreciate and help bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Pollinators are essential to the environment. They help maintain the health of the many plants that stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. These plants also buffer waterways, store carbon and provide habitat for other wildlife. Plus, flowering landscapes are beautiful. Without pollinators, the environment would look very different, a release said.

They pollinate plants that provide Minnesota food crops such as fruits, vegetables and herbs. Some of these foods can be important for wildlife, too. Black bears, for example, eat raspberries that are pollinated by bumble bees. Honey bees and native pollinators contribute millions of dollars to Minnesota’s agricultural economy.

“There are many simple things Minnesotans can do to help pollinators, which are so important not only to flowers or food but to our whole environment,” DNR invertebrate ecologist Jessica Petersen said in the release.

Here are some tips to help pollinators:

  • Plant a variety of flowers, especially those that are native to the area.
  • Keep your garden blooming all season long by choosing plants that provide pollen and nectar in the spring, summer and fall.
  • Provide nesting sites by allowing dead branches and logs to remain, leaving bare earth for ground-nesting insects, or installing bee nesting blocks.
  • Reduce the use of pesticides.
  • Become a community scientist and help researchers collect data about pollinators and their habitat.
  • Tell friends and family about pollinators and inspire them to take action.

A list of pollinator resources and more details about how to help are available on the DNR website.