Three pollinator-friendly plants could make all the difference

1. Plant for pollinators.

It’s estimated that one of every three bites of food we eat depends on pollinators such as bees, butterflies and moths.

Yet pollinator populations are in decline because of parasites and pesticides, industrial agriculture and climate change, among other issues, according to www.Bees.org.

You can help by joining the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge by planting at least three pollinator-friendly plants.

Native plants are most beneficial to pollinators and local ecosystems. Check out the free planting guide at www.pollinator.org to find which plants are native to Snohomish County. Or pick up these three: achilliea millefolium (yarrow), echinacea (coneflower) and origanum (oregano).

More at www.pollinator.org/million-pollinator-garden-challenge.

2. Call before you dig.

If you decide to plant a pollinator-friendly shrub, such as Caryopteris x clandonensis “Dark Night,” make sure it won’t get too big.

Snohomish County PUD is asking that residents avoid planting large shrubs or fruit trees so they won’t grow into power lines. The utility district recommends planting trees and shrubs that mature at no taller than 25 feet.

Also: Avoid accidentally hitting an underground utility line by phoning the “Call before you dig” hotline at 811.

Good thing “Dark Night” only grows to 4 feet tall. (Wink, wink.)

3. Killer whale tales.

Our pollinators aren’t the only wildlife at risk.

The Mukilteo Wildlife Habitat Project is hosting “Killer Whale Tales,” a free family-friendly presentation from 2 to 3:15 p.m. May 18 at Mukilteo City Hall, 11930 Cyrus Way, Mukilteo.

Jeff Hogan, an orca researcher and storyteller, will talk about the plight of our Southern Resident killer whales. Hogan said orca are critically endangered because there isn’t enough wild salmon to eat.

Hogan’s presentation will include a video from a “whale’s eye view.” He’ll explain how to recognize individuals from J Pod and how to tell whether they’re hunting salmon, traveling, playing or sleeping.

More at www.facebook.com/killerwhaletales.

Evan Thompson, Herald writer

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