A new youth event hosted by the Southwestern Nebraska Pheasants Forever Chapter was deemed a big success by organizers.
The first annual Youth Pollinator Habitat Project was completed May 6 with the help of the Chase County Schools third grade class, the Imperial FFA Chapter and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Pollinating insects are an essential component in global food production. A total of $19 billion is contributed to U.S. crop production by honey bees alone.
Without pollinators, 75 percent of the plant species in the world could not produce fruits or seeds. Essentially one out of every three bites of a person’s food has needed insect or animal pollination.
A pollinator by definition is an animal that moves pollen and can affect pollination. Pollinators include four major groups of pollinating insects: bees and wasps, flies, beetles, and butterflies and moths. Other important pollinators include birds and bats. Many species of native pollinators and domesticated honey bees are in decline, however.
Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) have developed the Youth Pollinator Habitat Program to help improve the situation.
This program supports local chapters to engage youths, families and communities across the country in establishing and monitoring pollinator habitat areas.
The results of this program project will benefit pollinators, as well as establish critical brood-rearing habitat for quail and pheasants. Funding for this project was provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Sport Dog, DuPont Pioneer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Southwestern Nebraska PF Chapter.
The local PF chapter contacted Jason Speck, Ag. Education instructor at CCS and Imperial FFA advisor, to see if the FFA would be interested in planting a pollinator project.
Speck immediately asked, “Could the FFA members mentor an elementary class for this project?”
Speck discussed the project with third grade teachers Annie Pursley and Melissa Wallin, who responded they definitely wanted their classes to participate.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission out of Cambridge was contacted to see if an area would be available to plant a half acre of pollinator habitat at the Wanamaker State Wildlife Refuge, located just west of Imperial.
Last Wednesday, 48 third graders, 15 Imperial FFA chapter members, teachers and advisors participated in the planting project. Each group of students participated in hands-on activities about plant ID, pollinators and food and building bee tunnel nests.
A native forb and grass seed mix was provided and each student was able to hand-broadcast the seed on the tilled half acre. Each student also planted four native plant plugs.
Presenters and volunteers for the day included:
Imperial FFA: Cade Francis and Ryelee Christensen
Imperial NRCS field staff: Nadine Bishop, Andy Keep, Sara Walker and Sara Winslow
National and Nebraska PF: Drew Larsen, Andy Houser, Jenny Frisch and Heather Francis
Nebraska Game and Parks: Chad Taylor, Brian Perks, Peyton Bahe
Volunteers and educators: Tondarae Loeffler, Trevor Oxford, Tanner Bardsley, Marla Smith, Diane Stamm, Annie Pursley, Melissa Wallin, Dianne Bischoff, Jason Speck and Jeremy Vlasin.
Other businesses that donated services or equipment included 21st Century Equipment of Imperial and Scotties Potties of Ogallala.
More information on the Youth Pollinator Habitat Program can be received from Drew Larsen, National Habitat Education Specialist at
or at www.pfqfhabitated.blogspot.com, or contact Heather Francis at
or the Imperial NRCS office.