Pollinate Minnesota

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A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

Pesticide Action Network North America
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Critical science & media literacy education, with youth beekeepers(!) and bee friendly advocacy.


raised by 90 people

$15,000 goal

Joys from the Bees!

Update posted 1 year ago

In 2022, over 800 people put on beekeeping suits and worked a honey bee hive with us. 

my favorite class story-  These days, I make people pledge to not scoop bees.  Any/everyone can hold a frame- the bossy wooden rectangle we give the bees to build their comb on- if they choose, and the draw is big to use your gloved hand to scoop a handful of bees. With younger kids I say - who's stronger, you or the bees? because you know, squishing.  Teaching a high school class this fall, we did the pledge, and in response to that question: this!   

"are you talking about physical strength or emotional strength?  Because of course I'm physically stronger than a bee but I don't feel comfortable saying I'm emotionally stronger."

🐝 💪  🐝 😂 pppppppphhhhhhhhhhwwwwwww 🐝 💪  🐝 😂

It's so wise.

This spring, thanks to flexibility and support from the Hennepin County Green Partners environmental education program, we were able to work with ALL students at our partner schools Dowling and Loring Elementary! 

With the Minneapolis Public Schools’ vindictive response to the teachers strike, last spring’s school year was a month longer and had 42 additional mins every day.  Green Partner’s flexibility allowed me to bring our programming to a few schools, giving students and teachers a small break, the small joy of putting on something huge and holding a frame of bees. The delicious stickiness of eating honey directly from the comb.

We brought this experience to over 50 diverse partners this year, from MPS to homeschool groups, summer camps, and nature centers around the state.

And this week, the joy of potential, of possibility here in Minnesota after the election. 

5 years ago, MN led the nation in pollinator protection, and in spite of significant state investment over the last ten years, by all metrics pollinators here are still struggling. Why? Because we continue to leave the pesticide exposure piece of the puzzle unaddressed. 

We know pesticides are driving harm to insects, to humans, to our ecosystems, and we’re optimistic that our new legislature will make the change necessary to begin to mitigate these harms. Changes like restricting neonicotinoids, dicamba, and other bee-harming pesticides, allowing cities and other municipalities to control their own pesticide policies, and closing the federal loophole on treated seed regulation. The possibility is mobilizing- stay tuned for more soon!

Learn more about our work this year here

Pollinate Minnesota is working for a better Minnesota for Pollinators and People through education and advocacy.  

We teach classes with live honey bees, advocate for pollinator-friendly policies, and work in community at the state and local level to mobilize power for pollinator protection.

Your support makes all the things we do possible and will help us to: 

1. Serve more students with our Education Classes and Deepen Existing Partnerships.

We're beekeepers, and teach classes with live bees, for youth and adults, for pollinator advocates and those with bee phobias, for people who chose to celebrate their birthday with us and people who join us because they're in third grade and that's what their class is doing.  

To the diverse audiences we serve, our classes:

  • Are incredible teaching tools.  Programs are standards- based and offer direct, memorable, interdisciplinary curriculum connections.
  • Raise awareness of pollinator decline and how to help.  We connect directly to what it takes to grow food the way we do, why we talk so much about honey bees, and the role we play in the complex ecosystems we're a part of.
  • Offer an opportunity to see what beekeeping is like before diving in.
  • Our classes build bravery in a way that doesn't threaten anyone's identity.  We've been thinking about this so much, the incredible bravery and resilience that BIPOC, immigrants, LGBTQIA folks, women, and all marginalized communities have, have had, and need to have to live their lives. It's unacceptable and infuriating, that our society, especially in this political climate, is calling on communities’ bravery and resilience in new ways everyday. It’s also humbling and awe-inspiring to see that bravery. 
    • Pollinate Minnesota was founded and is run by a white, cisgender woman.  We’re looking to these experiences of resilience, listening to these communities.
    • Our classes are low stakes bravery-building experiences for everyone. Our field trips are hands-on experiences with a stinging insect many of us have legitimate phobias of and anxiety around.  Students safely get close to their fear, hold a frame of thousands of honey bees in their hands, taste honey directly from the hive.   We’ve been so humbled and honored to be able to be around this bravery every time we teach.  

People love our approach to education and that we teach through immersive experiences.  We consistently hear feedback like: "Best professional development ever!" and "This is like a Magic School Bus Field Trip!"

2. Take advantage of an incredible political moment for Minnesota's pollinators.

A few years ago, Minnesota led the nation in pollinator-friendly policies.  Despite our leadership, MN beekeepers continue to experience 50% hive loss annually.  Our once ubiquitous Rusty Patched Bumble Bee is on the Endangered Species List, and 5 of our other bumble bee species are approaching that status.   We know the reasons it’s hard to be a bee: pollinators suffer from pesticide exposure, parasites and diseases, and no longer have the flowers they need for food and habitat. 

Changing policy is necessary and Minnesotans want this change.  

Minnesotans have long cared about the issue of pollinator decline. We have contributed significant taxpayer dollars to pollinator habitat and research efforts over the last decade. We have over 45 municipalities statewide that are pollinator- friendly. Pollinate Minnesota led this work with Minneapolis, St. Paul and other communities, and served for two years on Governor Dayton's 15- member Committee for Pollinator Protection (the GCPP).

Policies to protect pollinators are diverse- from grants to establish habitat to protections from pesticide exposure.  The Walz administration and the 2019 MN Legislature created the Lawns to Legumes Program (a cost-share grant for homeowners to establish pollinator habitat in their yards) and made the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee our state bee.

They're great steps, but our bees need more now.  We're continuing to urge the administration to take action on all the GCPP's priority recommendations- including the pesticide priorities.

Your donation means more hours on the ground at the capitol and more collaborative, grassroots organizing, in community, around the state.

By supporting Pollinate Minnesota you are:

  • Broadening the reach of our education classes and deepening our programming with existing partners.
  • Bringing our critical voice to state and local pollinator policy efforts.
  • Building and connecting communities to resources and to each other. 
  • Helping us grow!

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter at our website. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.   email Erin@pollinatemn.org

Pesticide Action Network North America is our fiscal sponsor. All proceeds from this campaign will support Pollinate Minnesota.

Photo credits: David Pierini, North News, 2017, Amy Wurdock Photography, 2016

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