MnDOT to light I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis in yellow, orange June 17 to kick off National Pollinator Week
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis will shine yellow and orange on Monday, June 17, in honor of the rusty-patched bumble bee and to kick off National Pollinator Week, June 17-21.
“The Minnesota Department of Transportation manages thousands of acres of green space that contribute to the health of pollinators,” said Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “Our agency is focused on doing our part to protect and restore pollinator habitats, and we are pleased to participate in efforts to increase public awareness and education.”
During the 2018-2019 legislative session the rusty-patched bumble bee emerged as Minnesota’s newly designated state bee. The bee is listed as an endangered species, mainly due to its loss of habitat, along with vulnerability to parasites and pesticides.
Bumble bees are necessary for native wildflower reproduction and creating seeds and fruits that feed wildlife as diverse as songbirds and bears. As pollinators, the rusty-patched bumble bee contributes to food security and the healthy functioning of the state’s ecosystem. The economic value of pollination services provided by native insects, mostly bees, is estimated at $3 billion per year in the United States.
“National Pollinator Week is a chance to reflect and celebrate the achievements that have been done this year,” said Christopher Smith, MnDOT protected species program coordinator. “It helps raise awareness of the important role pollinators play in our daily lives.”
In Minnesota, MnDOT is increasing the use of native plants on roadsides and expanding the agency’s prescribed fire program to further enhance existing native vegetation and habitats. The agency is also collaborating with researchers, other governments and nonprofit organizations to better understand roadside habitat use by pollinators.
For more information visit MnDOT’s pollinator website at mndot.gov/pollinators/.