Did you know 75 percent of the world's flowering plants rely on animal pollinators? Or that one-third of the food we eat would not exist without these varied creatures?
In recognition of National Pollinator Week June 18-24, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County encourages everyone to learn how honeybees, butterflies, bats and other insects help plants grow and serve an important role in our food supply.
Visitors on Sundays, June 24 through September, to the district's Kline Creek Farm, an 1890s living-history farm in West Chicago, can "Meet the Beekeepers" from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
During this free program, visitors will learn about beekeeping equipment and can ask beekeepers questions about honey and bees. They can see not only the honey house, where classes for beginning beekeepers are offered, but also a newly established bee garden with plants attractive to bees, including bee balm, salvia and coneflower.
Visitors also can take home a packet of cucumber seeds to grow the plants at home to see firsthand how pollinators support plants that feed us. At the farm's Timber Ridge Visitor Center, visitors can find locally produced honey and beeswax products.
To see pollinators in action, nature enthusiasts should make a visit to the butterfly garden at the district's Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn. This garden showcases practical landscape ideas that attract native and migrant butterflies and other wildlife species.
It contains native bushes and perennial and annual flowers, as well as a sensory garden that abounds with sights, smells and textures. A pond with a trickling waterfall offers visitors listening and viewing enjoyment, and an educational display cabin features a butterfly life cycle puzzle and a play area. The butterfly garden is free to visit and is open daily.
Also, the summer issue of the district's quarterly publication, The Conservationist, includes an article titled "The Power of Pollinators." The publication is free to read on the district's website, dupageforest.org/districtnews/theconservationist.
Later this summer, the forest preserve district's booth at the DuPage County Fair from July 25 to 29 will feature pollinators through educational exhibits, fun activities and live plant displays.
Kline Creek Farm is at 1N600 County Farm Road in West Chicago. For information on "Meet the Beekeepers" and other activities at the farm, call (630) 876-5900. Willowbrook Wildlife Center is at 525 S. Park Blvd. in Glen Ellyn.
For information on the butterfly garden or other activities at the center, call (630) 942-6200.
For information on the district, call (630) 933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org.