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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don鈥檛 like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don鈥檛 like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don鈥檛 like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don鈥檛 like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Pitt Sustainability celebrates Pollinator Month

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Kaylee Uribe | Staff Photographer
A bee interacts with a flower.

Pollination season is at its peak, and bees and other animals are ensuring plants can thrive this summer.

鈥淚t’s a time for all, not just here at Pitt, but worldwide, to really acknowledge and appreciate all the work that pollinators do,鈥 Greg Null, co-chair of the Pollinator Habitat Advisory Committee at Pitt, said.

Pitt Sustainability celebrated Pollinator Month this June to raise awareness for the bees, butterflies and other animals that are essential to the reproductive process for many plants. The University has held numerous events on campus to highlight the importance of this natural process.

鈥淧ollinator Month is meant to be an opportunity to highlight and focus on how important pollinators are to our ecosystem, our food system and the ecological health of our planet,鈥 Emily Potczny, the engagement manager for the Office of Sustainability, said. 鈥淭he events that we’ve had throughout the month are meant to be a celebration of all of the ecological services that pollinators provide and how we can support them in a healthy ecosystem.鈥

, the fertilization process of most wild plants, is a vital part of the Earth鈥檚 food systems and ecosystem, and animals such as insects, reptiles and mammals are the key to this process, according to Null.

鈥淧ollinators are animals, oftentimes insects, that move from bloom to bloom, drawn in by nectar,鈥 Null said. 鈥淎s they land, they tend to take the pollen up and then distribute it to other flowers. That’s how many plants with blooms reproduce.鈥

Throughout the month, students in a series of 鈥渓unch and learns鈥 hosted by members of the Advisory Committee, as well as interactive activities such as butterfly puddler making and tours of Pitt鈥檚 pollinator gardens. The Office of Sustainability also hosted a pollinator plant giveaway in front of the William Pitt Union.

It鈥檚 especially important to raise awareness for pollinators, especially pollinator insects, because their populations are in , according to Vikas Khanna, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Pitt.

鈥淭he decline of insect pollinators is a multi-faceted problem,鈥 Khanna said. 鈥淎t a broader level, there are several factors that have an impact on the health of pollinators and ultimately their population. These factors tend to be: loss of habitat, poor [nutrition], climate change, pests, parasites, pesticide use, as well as land management practices.鈥

Null emphasized the negative impact that pesticides have on pollinator insects.

鈥淲hen you spray for any insect, let’s say you don’t want aphids 鈥 That’s not just going to kill the aphids. That’s going to kill any bee that lands on that plant or flies through the dust,鈥 Null said. 鈥淭hat puts at risk the ability of pollinators to get out there and do things like make sure we have apples this fall or to make sure that we have zucchini.鈥

Pollinator Month is meant to raise awareness of these issues and make sure that Pitt and its students can make themselves more pollinator-friendly, according to Potczny.

鈥淭here are some simple things you can do around the materials that you choose not to use, like heavy pesticides and fertilizers,鈥 Potczny said. 鈥淚f you have lawn, [you can identify] some spaces where you can minimize that lawn and plant some native pollinator-friendly plants like butterfly weeds. You can also do things like raise the height of your mower a few inches, so that things like clover and dandelion, which are some of the earliest food for pollinators once they come out of hibernation 鈥 thrive and bloom on your lawn.鈥

At an institutional level, the University takes pollinator habitats into consideration when tending to green spaces, according to Null.聽

鈥淏eing that we’re an urban campus, there’s an emphasis on the green space that we do have,鈥 Null said. 鈥淥ne of the committee’s roles is to advise grounds in the University on how we can [create] ways for pollinators to live right here in the middle of Oakland. We do some of that through the Bee Campus Accreditation, which states that we’re a college campus that puts an emphasis on awareness and habitat for pollinators. We also do things like working with grounds to ensure that we’re using organic methods and trying to get as many plants in as possible that are friendly to pollinators.鈥

Beyond the tangible things people can do to help pollinators, Potczny added that being educated is equally important.

鈥淛ust being aware of how important the pollinators actually are to our food systems and our ecological systems [is important],鈥 Potczny said. 鈥淥ne out of every three bites of food only exists because of pollinators 鈥 things like that demonstrate that there is really a need at an institutional level to make sure that the spaces that are responsible for more land can adopt some of these pollinator-friendly policies.鈥