Give BIG to Inspire the Next Generation of Pollinator Protectors

Imagine a world without your morning cup of coffee, relaxing with friends while enjoying a glass of wine, devouring a delicious piece of chocolate or visiting Green Bay Botanical Garden overflowing with stunning blooms.

A world without apples, strawberries, avocados and countless other foods and drinks that are a part of our everyday life. This world could become our reality because our pollinator populations that make these foods possible are declining like never before.

Pollination in the United States alone creates nearly $20 billion worth of food products each year and up to 95%of all flowering plants on the planet need pollinators. One out of every three bites of food you eat is because of these beneficial insects, birds, bats and other small mammals.

bee on flower PC Chad Krause

There’s no doubt that pollinators are crucial to ecosystems around the world.

Let’s explore how a young girl’s experience at Green Bay Botanical Garden could help reverse the pollinator crisis because of your support through Give BIG Green Bay.

Mia first visits the Garden in 2018. Her parents bring her to see our spectacular exhibit, Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks. Her favorite sculpture is the Monarch, but her parents notice she’s even more fascinated by the flowers and bugs and how everything around her is buzzing with life.

The next year, she has her first up-close experience with butterflies when her class raises a group of Painted Ladies with a butterfly kit from the Einstein Project. She’s captivated by the butterflies emerging from their chrysalises, watching them flutter their wings for the first time.

In spring, Mia visits the Garden with her second-grade class. She sees pollination in action with butterflies flitting from flower to flower and plays a butterfly life cycle game with her classmates. Their challenge: act as baby butterflies (caterpillars) and collect chips that represent food, shelter and water so they can transform into an adult butterfly. To imitate plants being cut down in real life, there aren’t enough food chips for each “caterpillar” and Mia dies in the game. Mia is devastated and worries that the butterflies she sees outside don’t have enough food to survive. She is determined to learn more about how she can help.

girl with monarch butterfly wings PC Chad Krause

That summer, she begs her parents to take her back to the Garden’s Butterflies & Blooms exhibit so they can learn how to help the butterflies together. In the butterfly house, she’s immersed in hundreds of fluttering butterflies. She dresses up like a Giant Swallowtail and flies around to their favorite plants, becoming a pollinator herself. She also learns that butterflies love to drink from some of her favorite flowers like the purple coneflower. The next weekend, she and her parents plant a pollinator garden at home with plants she saw at the Garden. Mia’s outside every day that summer taking care of the plants and watching her own personal pollinator habitat.

girl smelling flowers PC Chad Krause

Years pass and Mia continues to nurture her passion for plants and bugs. She starts a garden club at her high school where they learn more about the biggest threats to pollinators’ survival, including pesticides and habitat destruction. She decides to study horticulture in college minoring in entomology, the study of insects.

While Mia’s in college, the pollinator crisis reaches an all-time high. Several species of butterfly are close to extinction like Wisconsin’s own White Admiral. Honey production is at its lowest levels, and some of her favorite foods (chocolate, strawberries and more) are in extremely limited supply.

Mia now knows her life’s calling. She co-founds a nonprofit that frantically searches for a way to boost the pollinator population. Mia’s nonprofit joins with organizations from around the world dedicated to solving the pollinator problem. Because of their passion and dedication, there’s a joyous revival of pollinator populations in gardens, farms and beehives in every corner of the globe.

hummingbird moth PC Chad Krause

Looking back on Mia’s life journey, it could all be traced to her first visit to the Garden. It was what sparked her passion for helping pollinators in the first place.

Why did we tell you this story? There are thousands of children that will visit the Garden this summer. With your support through Give BIG Green Bay, together we can educate the next generations of “Mias” to become plant and pollinator champions. During this 24-hour giving event, starting at noon on Wednesday, February 20 and ending at noon on Thursday, February 21, the Green Bay Packers Foundation will match a portion of every donation to make a bigger impact.

Your donation during Give BIG Green Bay will help fund the educational impact of our summer exhibit, Butterflies & Blooms, encouraging people of all ages to learn about supporting pollinators, their critical role in our ecosystem and the plants they love.

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As a special thank you for your support, we invite you to attend a special Butterflies & Blooms preview in May. Stay tuned for more details this spring!

Presented by the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Green Bay Packers Foundation.

Disclaimer: The events depicted in this blog are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.