Pollinator Expo offers interactive education for all

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class James Johnson
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and local community members visited Wright Brothers Memorial to learn how to support bees, native plants, and other species in the environment at the annual Pollinator Expo on June 21.

“The Pollinator Expo is something we do every year to bring awareness about the decline of pollinator populations and what everybody can do to help and celebrate Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Bee City USA designation,” said Danielle Trevino, a biological scientist with the 88th Civil Engineer Group’s Environmental Branch.

Wright Brothers Memorial was chosen to host the fifth annual event because of its appealing nature. It’s also in the middle of becoming an arboretum, which is a collection of various trees.

“I chose this venue because it’s beautiful and we’ve done a lot of work out here,” Trevino said. “We’re actually in the midst of turning this into one of the first arboretums in the Department of Defense.”

The expo involves 20-30 different local conservationist organizations that offer educational and interactive services for participants.        

“They offer seedling giveaways, face painting, a food truck, as well as very educated beekeepers that people can learn from and booths that teach people how to plant native habitats in their own yards. There’s really something for everyone,” Trevino says.           

The Pollinator Expo has activities for people of all ages.           

“The kids really enjoy running around and playing with the bubbles, and I’m excited to look at all of the plants and see what I can bring home,” said Caitlin Gehring, a participant in the expo.

One of the most popular stands was the face-painting station owned by Melanie Pershing, a geologist and program manager from 88 CEG’s Environmental Branch.

Pershing has worked in the environmental office for 35 years and participated in all five expos.

“I like to come out and do this because I think it encourages the kids to be excited about pollinators, which I’m painting,” she said. “It’s a good event for anybody to learn about pollinators.”

Event organizers say it’s important to be educated on pollinators because they affect everyone and heavily impact the environment.

“Habitat loss is a serious threat to the continuous decline of pollinator populations,” Trevino said. “The organizations gathered here today can help educate the public about easy ways they can provide native habitats in their own yards. We can each do little things to help sustain and protect pollinators and the habitats they need to survive and thrive. This is an issue we should all be concerned with. Pollinators help ensure our own survival.

“I’m proud of the work WPAFB does to participate in the movement to create native habitats and ensure the sustainability of pollinators. This is my favorite event each year because we get to collaborate with so many wonderful conservation organizations from across the state.”