Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy

Pot luck to fill brains and bellies


March 15, 2018

Four Niwot neighbors and friends, Tina Eden, Patti Hoge, Liana Street and Dawn Server are hosting a pot luck dinner this weekend at The Left Hand Grange.

The dinner is March 18 from 4:30 to 6:30. Bring a dish to share and place settings; beverages will be provided.

The purpose of the pot luck is to educate people about pollinators — specifically why populations are declining and ways humans can help.

“The reason for the pot luck is to have a pollinator safe neighborhood,” Eden said. “It’s informative to let people know that there have been declining populations over the years and things we can do to help.”

One of the speakers is Sue Anderson, co-chair of the People and Pollinators Action Network, an organization founded in Boulder County.

“We’re going to be talking about how people can make their yards and properties as safe and healthy as possible for pollinators,” Anderson said. “It’s encouraging people to think about what they’re planting, how they’re planting, etc.”

Anderson said that native plants are highly important because the majority of pollinators aren’t the run-of-the-mill honeybee. So turning the dial towards native flowering plants, including trees and shrubs, is a good way to keep the population healthy.

“Pollinators as a group are a really interesting set of species,” Anderson said. “They provide services to both agriculture and the native ecosystem in ways that there really aren’t other critters out there that do it. It makes for an interesting challenge to find ways to protect them when there are threats coming from many sides.”

Those threats range from pesticides and herbicides to development and loss of food sources.

“There’s a number of things that are causing pollinator numbers to decline around the world,” Anderson said. “One of the issues is climate change. You have a native species that is accustomed to certain weather patterns. When things start to change, it affects them.

“And development pressures affect all animals. We’re taking away their food sources and their range. If you take an acre of land, half of it has a building on it and the other half is either a parking lot or green grass - that’s one full acre that now has nothing there for pollinators to eat.”

The other speaker is Niwot resident Tom Theobald, a beekeeper in Boulder County for roughly 40 years. He is the co-host of The Neonicotinoid View, an online radio show that explores the impact of neonicotinoids — pesticides that are applied to the seeds of plants before they germinate.

“It’s important to everybody — and there are some who think it doesn’t matter to them because they don’t like honey or whatever reason — but pollinators are really the heart of the environment,” Theobald said. “We’re seeing tremendous losses, and it’s the foundation of life.”

Along with maintaining his hives, Theobald teaches classes on beekeeping and speaks at events when invited.

“This is a group that wants to share these issues with their neighbors, and it’s important from that perspective,” Theobald. “I’ve spoken out globally about the effect of these pesticides. This brings it close to home.”

The Neonicotinoid View can be found at http://www.theorganicview.com, with new episodes weekly.

“The more people know what the issues are, the more likely we are to be making progress,” Theobald said. “I think it’s very urgent. This is the foundation to about a third of everything we eat. If we lose the pollinators we won’t necessarily starve to death, but they give us all the good stuff. This is an issue that affects everybody who likes to eat.”

Eden said that they hope to have a good turnout for the event.

“We got to thinking, ‘Hey, why don’t we just make this bigger?’” Eden said. “It’s good information for an entire community to know. I think a lot of people don’t understand that this population decline is happening all over the world in industrialized nations.”

She added that even small acts (or inactions) can help.

“Doing little things like not even buying RoundUp or letting your dandelions grow,” Eden. “That’s a big one - those dandelions in early spring are one of the first food sources for pollinators after winter.

“We’re hoping we have a lot of fun on Sunday and disseminate information to the public. I really think once people learn about this they’ll start to think about what they can do to help.”

Anyone interested can find more information at http://www.beesafeboulder.org and take the “Pollinator safe Pledge.”


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