September 11, 2007

Pollinators: on your stamps, in your yard

I have Forever stamps and Pacific Lighthouses 41-cent stamps. The last stamps I purchased with a nature theme were the Common Buckeye and Florida Panther postcard stamps and the Crops of America 41-cent stamp. These stamps are what I call portrait stamps. One new portrait stamp set, called Beautiful Blooms, features flowers like the chrysanthemum, tulip, and iris. The latest relational stamp set is titled Pollination. According to the USPS website, Steven Buchman, the stamp's artist, "created an intricate graphic scheme for the stamps that emphasizes the ecological relationship between pollinators and plants and also hints at the biodiversity necessary to ensure the future viability of that relationship." I recently used my local post office to mail a gift but did not purchase the Pollination stamps so the photo (below) is from the USPS website. The pollinators featured are the bat, hummingbird, honeybee, and butterfly. (Species information is not included.) Other relational sets include the 39-cent Southern Florida Wetland and the 41-cent Nature of America: Alpine Tundra. Image credit The Pollination stamps were released on June 29 during National Pollinator Week 2007. The celebration was organized by the Pollinator Partnership, an organization whose mission is "to encourage the health of resident and migratory pollinating animals in North America." Here, in the East Bay, there are several intentional pollinator habitats: the Urban Bee Garden on the UC Berkeley Oxford Tract, the Le Conte School Butterfly Garden and the Le Conte Butterfly Habitat in the Ellsworth/Russell traffic circle, the Alameda Habitat Butterfly Garden, and the bird and butterfly Nectar Garden at Coyote Hills Regional Park. I did not locate another bird garden and did not find a bat garden. Butterfly drinking, trail along Nine Mile Run, Pittsburgh, PA You don't require a large space to create habitat, especially for small, mobile species. As Johnson et al. note in Welcoming Wildlife to the Garden, "creating a wildlife habitat garden depends upon the provision of food, shelter, water, and a safe place for wildlife to rear their young. This applies from balconies to larger properties" (my emphasis). Here are some resources for creating plant-pollinator habitat: bats Johnson et al. recommend The Bat House Builder's Handbook by Bat Conservation International. You can also find bat house information on the conservation group's website. bees Creating a Great Bee Garden; also Flowering Season vs. Bee Season (UC Berkeley Urban Bee Garden) birds Helping Birds at Home (Point Reyes Bird Observatory/ PBRO Conservation Science) butterflies Bay Area Butterflies (No. American Butterfly Assn) I am developing a conceptual design called an "edible pocket woodland" specific to the East Bay - edible for humans (mostly fruit, nuts, and perennial herbs) and small, mobile species like bees, birds, and butterflies. The concept is based on three models: the edible forest garden, the pocket woods (see Noah's Garden by Sara Stein), and the urban pocket park. Related post Designed with ecological intent

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