Plano Learns: Pollinators

Bees and butterflies and birds, oh my! We’re all a-flutter about pollinators on our patios. Is your yard ready for the winged wonders that bring life and color to every garden? It can be. Join Sustainability and Environmental Education Division (and the library) on August 20 at 1 p.m. to learn about how to prepare your home for pollinators. Register here through Zoom, or watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.

If you want to learn even more about pollinators, we have a variety of resources both in the library and online you can use to help get your yard pollinator-friendly.

Learn about pollinators:

Native pollinators: Butterflies by Roberta Baxter

Summary: “Butterflies are the rock stars of the insect world. They are beautiful. They glide through the air, looking elegant and regal. Photographers like to snap pictures of them. The press gives special coverage to the famous Monarch butterfly. Butterflies are adored by all. These flying insects play an important role in the life cycle of plants. They are pollinators, and many are native to America. Butterflies help plants grow many of the flowers you love to see and smell. [This book] is a good place to start learning about these magnificent insects.”

Available in Print


Native pollinators: Bees by Roberta Baxter

Summary: “When people think of bees, they often think of the honeybee. Honeybees are important. They deserve a lot of buzz. But they are not native to America. Colonists brought the honeybee to Virginia in 1622. America’s only native bee is the bumblebee, an there are 46 different kinds of bumblebee. Our bumblebees pollinate flowers of apples, plums, pears, almonds, peaches, and many more plants. They work twice as fast as honeybees, and they work for free to give us the fruits and vegetables that we love to eat. [This book] is a good place to start learning about these American originals.”

Available in Print


Where have all the bees gone? by Rebecca E. Hirsch

Summary: “Bees pollinate 75 percent of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States. Around the world, bees pollinate $24 billion worth of crops each year. Without bees, humans would face a drastically reduced diet. We need bees to grow the foods that keep us healthy. But numbers of bees are falling, and that has scientists alarmed. What’s causing the decline? Diseases, pesticides, climate change, and loss of habitat are all threatening bee populations. Some bee species are teetering on the brink of extinction. Learn about the many bee species on Earth–their nests, their colonies, their life cycles, and their vital connection to flowering plants. Most importantly, find out how you can help these crucial pollinators.”

Available in Print


Our native bees: America’s endangered pollinators and the fight to save them by Paige Embry

Summary: “Honey bees get all the press, but the fascinating story of North America’s native bees—endangered species essential to our ecosystems and food supplies—is just as crucial. Through interviews with farmers, gardeners, scientists, and bee experts, Our Native Bees explores the importance of native bees and focuses on why they play a key role in gardening and agriculture. The people and stories are compelling: Paige Embry goes on a bee hunt with the world expert on the likely extinct Franklin’s bumble bee, raises blue orchard bees in her refrigerator, and learns about an organization that turns the out-of-play areas in golf courses into pollinator habitats. Our Native Bees is a fascinating, must-read for fans of natural history and science and anyone curious about bees.”

Available in Print


The Pollinators (2019) film by Peter Nelson

Summary: “THE POLLINATORS is a cinematic journey around the United States following migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honey bees as they pollinate the flowers that become the fruits, nuts and vegetables we all eat. The many challenges the beekeepers and their bees face en route reveal flaws to our simplified chemically dependent agriculture system. We talk to farmers, scientists, chefs and academics along the way to give a broad perspective about the threats to honey bees, what it means to our food security and how we can improve it.”

Available to watch through Kanopy


Resources for gardening:

Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Brown

Summary: “A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own patch of earth, Gardening Lab for Kids encourages children to get outside and enjoy nature. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings.”

Available as an eBook


Pollinator friendly gardening: gardening for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators by Rhonda Fleming Hayes

Summary: “Stow your pesticides and learn how to foster a beautiful, healthy garden that attracts bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators. Hays explains the synergy between plants and pollinators. She helps you make the right choices for plant selection, nutrients, growing practices and so much more. You will improve your garden– and the lives of those who spend time in it.”

Available in Print



Lawns into meadows: growing a regenerative landscape by Owen Wormser

Summary: “Landscape designer Owen Wormser explains how to replace the dead scape we call lawn with low-maintenance, eco-friendly meadows. This is a how-to book on meadow-making that’s also about sustainability, regeneration, and beauty.”

Available in Print


100 plants to feed the bees: provide a healthy habitat to help pollinators thrive by The Xerces Society

Summary: “The international bee crisis is threatening our global food supply, but this user-friendly field guide shows what you can do to help protect our pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation offers browsable profiles of 100 common flowers, herbs, shrubs, and trees that support bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. The recommendations are simple: pick the right plants for pollinators, protect them from pesticides, and provide abundant blooms throughout the growing season by mixing perennials with herbs and annuals! 100 Plants to Feed the Bees will empower homeowners, landscapers, apartment dwellers — anyone with a scrap of yard or a window box — to protect our pollinators.”

Available in Print and eBook


Victory gardens for bees: a DIY guide to saving the bees by Lori Weidenhammer

Summary: “Who knew modern civilization may be brought down, not by plagues or war, but by bees? Or, more correctly, by no bees? This book investigates the growing problem of bee mortality and offers practical measures we can all take to help. In ecological terms, bees play a critical role in the survival of many plant communities and continuation of life on this planet. No pollination, no seeds. No seeds, no future.

Now that bees are facing unprecedented levels of die-off caused by a toxic mixture of environmental stresses, a community-based effort is needed to make gardens, fields and landscapes healthy sanctuaries for bees. Just as citizens banded together to produce Victory Gardens to offset the perilous food shortages of World Wars I and II, now a similarly vital level of collective effort is needed to make our gardens into lifesaving shelters for these essential creatures.

Planning a bee-friendly space can provide a beautiful and bountiful selection of edible crops, native plants and fragrant ornamentals, as well as herbs that have medicinal properties for both pollinators and people. With the help of ten inspiring garden plans and planting guides, Weidenhammer shows how bee-friendly plants can be used in creative combinations for plots and pots of all sizes, and are easily grown by novices and seasoned gardeners alike. In the spirit of the history-making Victory Gardens, readers will learn how to pack optimum benefits into a limited space for the survival of hive and home, and backyard beekeepers will learn great planting strategies for making sure their honeybees are healthy and have ample food to overwinter.

Victory Gardens for Bees is also buzzing with DIY projects that will provide nesting sites and essential supplies for precious pollinators. With plenty of photographs to help readers identify bees of all stripes, beekeeping tips and other interesting bee-phemera, this book is a must-have for anyone who wants to do their part to save bees.”

Available in Print


Online resources:

Access EBSCO’s Home Improvement Reference Center database, available through Plano Public Library’s Research & Learn webpage.

This resource provides information on outdoor planting and decorating.


Learn about pollinators through Gale’s Science in Context database, available through Plano Public Library’s Research & Learn webpage.

This resource provides information on various science-related topics.


Be sure to check out our other upcoming programs for the month of August here.

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