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Native Plants and Pollinators

Kay Kerr Adair planting wildflower seeds

Kerr Center founder and trustee Kay Adair planting wildflower seeds at the center

The Kerr Center Ranch and Farm is conserving habitat for native pollinators (native bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, etc.) and is establishing pollinator-friendly landscapes using native plants.

We also sponsor educational events to teach others how to create pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes.

Check out our native plant and pollinator library for info on growing native plants and identifying native pollinators!

Why? With the ongoing decline in numbers of honeybee colonies, we need native pollinators to provide pollination of food crops. (See Native Pollinator FAQs.)

But, native pollinators also face threats from many sources, including insecticides, intensive farming/ranching practices and urban development.

Other pollinators such as Monarch butterfly are in danger of extinction. Oklahoma provides crucial habitat for this beloved butterfly.

Milkweeds and other native plants are not only essential for Monarchs, they provide food and nesting for native bees and other insects which provide billions of dollars worth of “pollination services” each year.

While native pollinator habitat has been studied and promoted in different regions of the United States, limited work has been done in the eastern Oklahoma region. We are helping to fill that gap!

News/Tips and Recent Publications

  • Saving the Bees in Oklahoma! Watch the Video!

    2015JulySweepsBBAd_N6Bees

    Watch this special report from Scott Thompson on Tulsa’s News on 6 and see the center’s beautiful pollinator-friendly landscape! Learn what you can do to help the bees.

    Read more...
  • A Paucity of Pollinators in Oklahoma This Season?

    bees on yellow sun

    Kerr Center’s David Redhage is quoted in this recent article about the status of pollinators in Oklahoma.

    Read more...
  • June 6 Pollinator Workshop Recap

    Anne Stine and David Redhage

    Kerr Center welcomed thirty gardeners, farmers and ranchers to the Pollinator Conservation Workshop. Anne Stine from the Xerces Society presented information about bees, other pollinator, beneficial insects, and how to identify and plant for these essential insects. David Redhage of the Kerr Center summarized the center’s pollinator project and led a tour of the center’s pollinator-friendly landscape.

    Read more...
  • Perennials, Polyculture, and Pollinators

    Elderberry planting on the Cannon Horticulture Plots

    After several years of large-scale demonstration work for the Beginning Farmer Program and Resilient Farmer Project, the horticulture program is shifting gears. Three of the four fields in the Cannon Horticulture Plots will be moving…

    Read more...

Learn About: Pollinators and Native Plants

Yellow indigo thrives in rotationally grazed pastures and attracts bumble bees in the spring

Yellow indigo thrives in rotationally grazed pastures and attracts bumble bees in the spring

Habitat for Pollinators & a Conservation Innovation Grant from USDA

With help from a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded in 2011, and in partnership with the Xerces Society, the Kerr Center is working to

1) Implement plantings at the Kerr Center Ranch to use in outdoor classrooms for students, teachers and NRCS employees to learn proper planting, plant identification, and management techniques for native pollinator habitat.

Plantings focus on plants native to Eastern Oklahoma and those associated with native pollinators.

2) Install a stabilized stream crossing point within the riparian area native pollinator habitat, to demonstrate the establishment of native pollinator habitat within a working ranch program.

”I applied for the native pollinator grant from the USDA’s NRCS out of concern for the problems honeybees were experiencing. Also, the drastic decline in bumblebee populations is a cause for concern,” says David Redhage, Director of Ranch Operations.

The 4,000 acres of the Kerr Ranch offer a wide diversity of habitats for native plants and the pollinators attracted to them.

Since 2011, we have established native plants in pastures, in horticulture plots, and in landscape beds . We have photo-documented these plants and the pollinators that visit them.

This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-7335-1-21.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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