Insect Pollinators Need More Habitat


Pollinators

Photo: Emily Dobbs, a University of Kentucky graduate student in entomology, evaluates a planting of perennial wildflowers located at University of Kentucky's AJ Powell Turf Research Facility that attract bees and butterflies seeking pollen and nectar. The USGA, along with Syngenta and the University of Kentucky Nursery Endowment Fund, are supporting the first use of a program called Operation Pollinator on North American golf courses. 


The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a U.S. Department of Agriculture study that said, “The number of honey bee colonies declined by 31% last winter.” This amounts to a loss of about 800,000 colonies, the latest reported toll of mass die-offs. Worldwide, bee and butterfly numbers have dropped dramatically, whether by climate change or habitat loss. So, what does this have to do with golf courses?

In years past, the USGA cooperated with the Xerces Society on studies to help golf courses provide needed habit for a host of insect pollinators in out-of-play areas. Recently, the USGA, along with Syngenta and the University of Kentucky Nursery Endowment Fund, are supporting the first use of a program called Operation Pollinator on North American golf courses. "Bees are really critical for food supply," said Daniel Potter, professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky (UK). Hence, there is an urgent need to cultivate spaces that are friendly to bees and butterflies. Emily Dobbs, a UK graduate student in entomology, began the project in 2011 to produce mixes of wildflowers that would attract bees and butterflies. Then, she planted them on six Lexington golf courses.

"You can't just go out in a field and start throwing seeds around," Potter said. The plots are 20 feet by 200 feet for each of the golf courses. Of the three seed mixes developed, Dobbs said one is for butterflies, two are for bees, and one is a fallow plot that serves as a control. Consisting of perennial plants, the seed mix is designed to provide visual interest for all seasons. "There's an opportunity to create a sanctuary here," Dobbs explained. She is using different techniques to measure success, including the number of blooms, "bee bowl" trapping in bright plastic bowls with soapy water, and butterfly nets.

Initiated by the Syngenta Company, Operation Pollinator projects began in Great Britain. The idea is to provide scattered plantings for bees and butterflies to gather pollen and nectar. For North America, “The possibilities for other pollinator gardens are nearly endless — on horse farms, school grounds, private homes, and even neighborhood parkland,” Dobbs said. For now, Potter suggested, "The golf course can become an urban sanctuary."

 

Truman, Cheryl. "UK Student Plants Golf Course Gardens to Increase Bee, Butterfly Populations." Kentucky.com (30 Apr. 2013): n. pag. The Lexington Herald-Leader. Web. 09 May 2013.

 

Shepherd, Matthew. 2002. Making Room for Native Pollinators: How to Create Habitat for Pollinator Insects on Golf Courses. Far Hill, New Jersey: United States Golf Association; and Portland, Oregon: Xerces Society. 30 pp.

 

Shepherd, Matthew; Vaughan, Mace; Black, Scott Hoffman. 2006. MAKING MORE ROOM A Companion to Making Room for Native Pollinators: Oregon’s Butterflies, Local Plants, and Extra Resources. Portland, Oregon: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. 48 pp.

 

Tomson, Bill; and Tracy, Ryan. “Bee Deaths Put Crops at Risk – Mounting Toll on Pollinating Insects Imperils Over $20 Billion a Year in Harvests.” The Wall Street Journal CCLXI (8 May 2013):A3. Web. 09 May 2013.

 


Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image