Get a Head Start on Your May Flowers
Though it might not feel like it in the parts of the Northeast hit by “Winter Storm Stella,” spring is right around the corner. For many of us, that means thinking about warm-weather staples like landscaping and gardening. However, what you plant and how you plant it matters more than you might think. That’s why the people at General Mills have partnered with the Xerces Society and Veseys Seeds to help you plan some beautiful – and helpful – plantings this spring.
Together, they are distributing over 100 million wildflower seeds – for free – with one, huge goal: to save our world’s bees.
Bee Populations in Decline
According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, in connection with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the decline in bee populations dates back to the end of WWII. It was then that agricultural practices started to change. Most notably, this is when there was a marked increase in the use of pesticides. Similar in structure to nicotine, the most common pesticides used act as neurotoxins to bees. As a result, these pesticides have shortened bee lifespans and disrupted their sense of direction. In other words, bees have a hard time remembering the locations of floral areas as well as their home hives.
Long term, the decline in bee population is about more than flowers, though. Fewer bees and other pollinators impact our ability to grow food that requires pollination. That’s as much as 1 in every 3 bites of food the average American takes! Foods affected include everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to staple grains like oats.
That’s why General Mills and Cheerios are interested in helping save bees. It is also why the company has dedicated so much time and money to research and outreach. Watch the video below, produced by General Mills along with the Xerces Society. It explains this problem and their contributions in more detail:
How to Get Your Free Seeds
Whether you are trying to grow your own food to keep grocery bills down or create a beautiful, welcoming yard, adding in some bee-friendly wildflowers makes sense. To help people do just that, while also helping to save pollinators like bees, General Mills partnered with Veseys Seeds to distribute wildflower mixes to people all over the U.S. and Canada. Using these seed mixes and the suggestions provided by Cheerios and the Xerces Society, you can help to develop a pollinator habitat in your own yard or community.
So far, the response has been overwhelming. In fact, Cheerios already met their 100 million seed goal. They still have seeds left to give out, though. So, if you want to get some free seeds and learn more about saving the world’s bee population, head on over to the official #BringBacktheBees website. Once you are there, fill in the form to receive your wildflower seeds and instructions for planting them. According to the company, they will arrive in 4-6 weeks – just in time for real spring after Stella.