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Native ‘seed bombs’ created for bee pollinators

Vivian Serna, 9, forms a mixture of seeds and mud into a ball to be used as a “seed bomb” June 17 during Prairie Youth Center’s Pollinator Week. The bombs were designed as a way to easily sow native flowering plants to help area pollinating insects.

Vivian Serna, 9, forms a mixture of seeds and mud into a ball to be used as a “seed bomb” June 17 during Prairie Youth Center’s Pollinator Week. The bombs were designed as a way to easily sow native flowering plants to help area pollinating insects.

Brennen Rice, 11, mixes mud and seeds to form “seed bombs” June 17 at Prairies Youth Center near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The project was part of Pollinator Week, with the goal of increasing the access bees and butterflies have to native flowers for food

Brennen Rice, 11, mixes mud and seeds to form “seed bombs” June 17 at Prairies Youth Center near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The project was part of Pollinator Week, with the goal of increasing the access bees and butterflies have to native flowers for food.

Dwight Wells of the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative talks to children at Prairies Youth Center on June 17 about honeycombs and how bees raise their young. The students then had the opportunity to form “seed bombs,” balls of mud and seeds, to take home and use to plant native flowers helpful to pollinators.

Dwight Wells of the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative talks to children at Prairies Youth Center on June 17 about honeycombs and how bees raise their young. The students then had the opportunity to form “seed bombs,” balls of mud and seeds, to take home and use to plant native flowers helpful to pollinators.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- In celebration of Pollinator Week, observed the third week of June every year, the Prairies Youth Center taught students about pollinators in the local area and how to take care of these native inhabitants.

Students created native “seed bombs,” which are a mixture of mud and seeds molded into round balls. Afterward, they took the seed bombs home and tossed them onto bare soil, where they will grow into an assortment of flowering plants beneficial to pollinators.

The combination of seeds includes coneflowers, sunflowers, aster, clover and foxglove.

“In addition to the seed bombs, we are teaching the children about different types of pollinators, how they pollinate and why these species are so important,” said Danielle Trevino, a biological scientist with the 88th Civil Engineer Group’s Environmental Branch. “It will be a cool experience for the children to watch their native plants grow and attract pollinators. They’ll also be able to teach their friends and family all they’ve learned.”

Featured presenter Dwight Wells of the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative asked students: “Where does our food come from?”

Pollinators are important to farmers because bees and butterflies collect pollen with their hollow tongues, he explained, then fly back to the hive and deposit their pollen into hexagon-shaped cells called honeycombs.

The deposited pollen is protein and the honey they produce is a carbohydrate. The different pollen colors are derived from different types of flowers.

Pollinator Week teaches and reemphasizes that pollinators are a keystone species, and without them, ecosystems and the food supply would change drastically. Together, conservationists work to protect the environments pollinators need to survive.

“Wright-Patt was designated a Bee City USA community in 2017. Since that time, we have worked hard to maintain that designation,” Trevino said. “We strive to increase native plants, provide wildlife habitat and reduce the use of pesticides on the installation. Bee City USA has a goal of sustaining pollinator populations.”

Wright-Patterson AFB will host the Summer Prairie Walk event July 19 at 11 a.m. The walk is a free guided tour of Huffman Prairie and Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where you can learn about the flora and fauna native to this unique habitat. It’s open to the public.

“Our work at Huffman Prairie and our partnership with Propolis, our beekeeper for the bees on base, have both been extremely successful in terms of meeting the objectives of the Bee City USA program,” Trevino said. “Coming out to the youth center to provide some educational outreach is another component of the Bee City USA program. We want to help educate people about the importance of pollinators, and what they can do to help.”

For more information, contact Danielle Trevino at danielle.trevino.1@us.af.mil or 937-257-8555.