Amy-Lynn Albertson: Native plant landscaping protects pollinators

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2023

By Amy-Lynn Albertson
For the Salisbury Post

Did you know that 75-95 percent of all flowering plants rely on pollinators for pollination? North Carolina has a $78 billion agriculture economy that relies on pollinators for crops such as cucumbers, squash, blueberries and strawberries. It’s been estimated that native pollinators are responsible for pollinating almost $3 billion in U.S.-produced fruits and vegetables. Only 2 percent of wild bee species do 80 percent of the pollination. In North Carolina, we have 13 known bumblebee species, several of which are threatened. In addition to our bumble bees, N.C. is home to 174 species of butterflies and 1,200 moth species. You need to plant some pollinator-friendly plants to encourage these pollinators to come to your farm/garden or yard. Native plants make suitable pollinator habitats for native bees, butterflies and beneficial insects. Dr. Carrie DeJaco will be the featured speaker for the Aug. 8 meeting of the Extension Master Gardener Association of Rowan County at 1 p.m. in the Rowan County Agricultural Center auditorium.

As a girl growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Carrie DeJaco watched as all the “wild” land around her neighborhood was developed into housing. She observed the abrupt decline in plant diversity and wondered what would happen to all the organisms that lived in those fields and woods. She grew up to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology at the University of Louisville, followed by her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. DeJaco moved to Charlotte in 2006 to begin a professorship at Queens University of Charlotte. She has been a professor at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer since 2017. She enjoys teaching her students about biology and the natural world in which they live, with a few of her favorite courses being botany, animal behavior and reconciliation ecology. She founded the consultation company “For the Birds and the Bees” in 2016 as the interest in native plants and landscaping for wildlife began to increase in this region. DeJaco recognized the need for someone who could talk to people about their property and identify ways to make it more ecologically relevant. She began visiting clients to discuss their current landscaping and how to improve its function in providing for wildlife’s needs. Her consultations often include the recognition and removal of invasive plants and increased incorporation of native plants into the landscape plan. She and her students have installed several demonstration gardens on the campus of Pfeiffer University. To register for this free seminar with DeJaco, go to or call the Rowan County Extension Center at 704-216-8970; space is limited registration is required.

Amy-Lynn Albertson is director of the Rowan County Extension.

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