Phillips Park Zoo to host inaugural Aurora Pollinator Festival

Bees, butterflies, and other animals that pollinate plants and crops in Illinois are vanishing from local ecosystems at an alarming rate.

Phillips Park Zoo is helping to solve the problem by launching several new initiatives to protect precious pollinators, including expanding pollinator habitats, installing research gardens, and hosting the inaugural Aurora Pollinator Festival this month.

To spread awareness of Illinois' pollinator species and ignite action for their protection, the Aurora Pollinator Festival will be held from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, on the Phillips Park Zoo campus, 1000 Ray Moses Drive.

In celebration of National Pollinator Week, the festival will feature educational programs about pollinators, activities for children, a pop-up farmers market, food trucks, a beer garden, plant & seed sales, and a milkweed giveaway.

Festival attendees will have the opportunity to discover wildlife habits in the Aurora community and local pollinator conservation initiatives, such as the installation of research gardens for the University of Illinois' I-Pollinate community science research initiative. Guests can also explore the flavors of pollinator-powered foods at a pop-up farmers' market, beer garden, and food trucks; and take home free milkweed or other pollinator plants.

National Pollinator Week is celebrated during the last week of June to raise awareness of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, wasps, and flies and to spread the word about what can be done to protect pollinators.

Aurora residents are encouraged to do their part to support pollinators in their backyards, schools, and workplaces: consider planting a "pollinator pocket" of flowers in your garden, a window box, or a pot on a balcony; avoid the use of pesticides that are harmful to pollinators; or shop locally to reduce pollution that harms pollinators.

The Aurora Pollinator Festival partners include the Aurora Public Library, Burpee Museum of Natural History, Charity Blooms, Chicago Region Trees Initiative, the Conservation Foundation, DuPage Birding Club, DuPage Children's Museum, DuPage Monarch Project, Forest Preserve Districts of Kane County & DuPage County, Fox Valley Garden Club, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, Kane-DuPage Soil & Water Conservation District, Pollinator Partnership, the Resiliency Institute, and the Sierra Club.

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