Since humans began cutting down forests, 46% of trees have been felled. Not only does this displace numerous animal species, but also our pollinators as well. Birds, bees, bats, and several other insects require pollinating plants for homes and food and it’s estimated that this pollination produces $40 billion worth of food in the US alone. Without these pollinators, we’d be out of everything from apples to chocolate to potatoes; furthermore, they pollinate most of the food our livestock eat as well. Without adequate pollination, humans and animals alike would be without most of our food sources. Worldwide, over half the diet of fats and oils comes from crops pollinated by animals and they facilitate the reproduction in 90% of the world’s flowering plants.

Throughout college I volunteered with the Chattanooga Parks Department to plant Pollinator Patches. This is done by first clearing any trash or weeds from an area safely away from roads or other hazards then by planting native pollinating plants. We typically used gayfeather, aster, goldenrod, coneflower, or sneezeweed. Any non-invasive, pollinating plants will work, especially if they require full to partial sun. Occasionally, we would receive flowering trees or bushes as donations that we would be able to plant as well; these were beneficial as they provide immediate homes to insects or small animals without needing to wait through the growth period. Typically we would spend about 4-5 hours on Saturdays clearing the area and installing these patches. Now, anytime I go back to Chattanooga, I’m able to drive past them and see how far they’ve come and what wildlife animals have a new home. Installing these patches has helped me feel like every little bit matters – especially as I go by them and am greeted by beautiful flowers and pollinators.