- Fruits: berries (blueberries)
- Crop Production: beekeeping, pollination, pollinator habitat, pollinator health
- Education and Training: youth education
- Farm Business Management: agritourism
- Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement
While there has been much media coverage in the last few years about massive die-offs in pollinator populations and the threat this poses to agriculture, the need to demonstrate the importance of pollinators to the food supply to the public has been spotty and mostly limited to broad and superficial coverage.
The purpose of this SARE education/demonstration project is to provide an on-farm educational experience that graphically shows local residents and summer visitors to Michigan’s fruit belt the ecology of pollinators in a commercial blueberry habitat.
A pollinator education trail will be designed and constructed in a wildflower field adjacent to a producing blueberry field. The field and trail will also include hands-on activities for kids, and two special 2018 field days for educators. Measureable results will provide a basis for measuring the effectiveness of this approach.
Our program objectives include
- Identifying an optimal design and scale for a low-cost pollination education trail in a two acre wildflower field adjacent to a working blueberry
- Evaluating the effectiveness of such a trail in attracting and informing seasonal visitors –especially children – about bees and commercial farming
- Share findings of this agro-educational effort via field days, a conference presentation and social media.