Pollinator Conservation Special Focus

Importance of Pollinators

Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of global food crops depend on animal pollinators – such as bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, beetles, and other insects – to thrive. Many plants are completely adapted to reproduction by foraging pollinators, meaning they cannot produce fruit or seed in any other way. In fact, some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food that we eat exists because of pollinators.1

Challenges

Threats posed by habitat loss, disease, parasites, climate change, and environmental contaminants have all contributed to the global decline of many pollinator species.1 For example, North American populations of the monarch butterfly have been declining at alarming rates2, prompting the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to explore whether this once-abundant species should be listed as an endangered species in serious threat of extinction.3 Honey bees and native bee species also have been in major decline across the United States for several decades.4

In Illinois alone, there are 500 native bee species5 that support our flowering and food plant populations, along with 150 butterfly species and 1,850 moth species6. Illinois also serves as an important migratory route for monarchs and other pollinators that need appropriate habitat to help them survive and reproduce as they travel.

ComEd Supports Pollinator Conservation

ComEd recognizes the importance of the many programs, partnerships, and individual actions that residents of Illinois are taking to conserve pollinators, support their habitat, and protect pollinator-dependent plants and food crops.

As a response to the growing awareness around pollinators, ComEd has designated a special focus on pollinator conservation in the 2017 Green Region Program.

What Does “Special Focus” Mean?

During this grant cycle, 20% of funding will be designated for project applications that show a demonstrable benefit for pollinator conservation. Examples of demonstrable benefits for pollinator conservation include, but are not be limited to, projects that:

  • Establish or enhance pollinator habitat
  • Incorporate interpretation components, such as educational site signage, that inform the public about pollinators and pollinator conservation

Please note that while pollinator conservation is not a requirement of this year’s applications, all applicants are encouraged to consider how pollinators might be supported by their particular project. Eligible applications for projects that meet regular Program Guidelines will still be accepted for consideration, regardless of whether they focus on pollinator conservation.

For more information about the Pollinator Conservation Special Focus in the 2017 ComEd Green Region Program, please contact greenregion@openlands.org.


References

Photo: Brandon Hayes