Boy Scouts and bees at Beltane
The nonprofit North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council (NCRC&DC) is working with Sonoma Valley Boy Scouts, wineries, grape growers, and other farmers planting “bee patches” of forage to create habitat in Sonoma Valley for struggling bees and other pollinators. After the bee patches are planted this summer, the Boy Scouts will tally up the total amount of forage.
Eighty percent of the world’s flowering plants are animal pollinated, and wildlife ecosystems are vitally dependent on pollinating partners. Honeybees, other pollinators, and pollination services represent a critical component of healthy wildlife ecosystems and sustainable agriculture, with honeybees pollinating an estimated $15 billion of agricultural crops annually in the United States. Direct and indirect value could total $30 billion annually. Scientists and farmers alike are increasingly recognizing the importance of honeybees and native pollinators, and the reality that they are at risk. Bees are disappearing, and one important action to help bees is to create forage habitat where they can feed and nourish their colonies.
On June 29, Boy Scouts from Sonoma Valley went to Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen and learned first-hand from educator and former Executive Director of Partners for Sustainable Pollination Kathy Kellison how important bees are to the community. Glen Ellen farmer and NCRC&DC Board member Tish Ward is also working with the scouts in planting bee patches of forage habitat in Sonoma Valley agricultural fields. Specialty seed mixes developed by LeBallister Seed Company to support bee forage will be used in the plantings.
The NCRC&DC is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working in Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties. The NCRC&DC’s overall goal is to protect water, soil, and air resources. Its all-volunteer Council works to protect pollinator habitat, eliminate invasive species, promote agricultural tourism, support new and expanding farm operations, and encourage alternative energy from biomass.