The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and several participating agencies are offering a one-day short course June 21 in Marianna on the value of native bees and other pollinators.

The course will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jackson County Extension Office, 2741 Pennsylvania Ave.

“There are roughly 4,000 native species of bees in North America, and they provide incalculable benefits to commercial crop production and to residents for home-grown fruits and vegetables,” said Arlo Kane, a private-lands biologist with the FWC. “Unfortunately, many of these pollinators have almost disappeared due to habitat loss, use of certain pesticides and introduced diseases.”

Kane said the course explains the role that pollinators play and what homeowners and landowners can do to make their lands “pollinator friendly.” That includes recommendations on wildflowers people can plant, optimum planting time and establishing long-term wildflower sites.

“One of the ancillary benefits of having sites established in wildflowers is these areas are great habitat not only for pollinators but also for other species like bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, gopher tortoises and numerous other wildlife species,” he said.

The partnering agencies include the University of Florida, IFAS; Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District; National Wild Turkey Federation; Natural Resources Conservation Service; and The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

The course is free but seating is limited. Everyone interested in attending must register by June 18 by contacting the Jackson County Extension Office at 850-482-9620. For more information on this course, contact Arlo Kane at 850-265-3676.

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