The rusty patched bumblebee, whose population has plummeted nearly 90 percent since the late 1990s, according to a recent National Geographic article, is facing extinction.
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“Working with Maggie I learned even more,” Wilson said.
“I never cease to be impressed with the students’ knowledge, commitment and willingness to work hard to improve not only UMW, but their world.” Designed to be experienced individually or together, the signs that make up the pollinator walk turned out to be everything Magliato imagined.
“Pollinators are in decline, and that’s a big topic in the environmental science and conservation world right now,” said UMW senior Maggie Magliato, who is raising awareness on the Fredericksburg campus.
This spring, for the first time ever, a bumblebee was added to the United States list of endangered species.
“We thought we could enact more change and benefits through teaching people,” Magliato said.
“We wanted to highlight the native plants that we already have established on campus and tell people how they can also help.” Joni Wilson, UMW’s longtime director of landscape and grounds, was excited to have a hand in the pollinator walk project and an opportunity to embrace student involvement.
Magliato, a biology and environmental studies major, has brought the battle to empower the pollinators to UMW.
On April 20, just in time for Mary Washington’s Earth Day celebration, she launched the “pollinator walk.” The interactive experience – five colorful signs strategically placed along Campus Walk – gives students, faculty, staff and the entire community the opportunity to learn about the process of pollination and the importance of native plants.
The continuing decline of pollinators – like the rusty patched bumblebee and other animals, including birds, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and bats that cause plants to make fruits and seeds – is due in part to urban development.
Using insecticides and mowing down fields instead of letting them flourish can lead to habitat loss.
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