You’re lounging on a lawn chair outside your yard and soaking up the warm afternoon sun, when you look down and see a bee on a flower getting ready to pollinate.
It’s a simple act of nature and has been around for centuries – but do you know how important pollination is to our ecosystem?
Ecologist Randy Johnson will host a talk on the importance of the relationship between flowers and plants, and discuss how to create biodiversity in your own backyard.
The talk, Pollinators and Natives: An Ancient Marriage, will be held at the Opal Durant Acton Community Center, 6430 Smokey Hill Ct., on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 4 p.m.
Johnson’s lecture, hosted by the Acton Nature Center, will explain how the relationship between pollinators and angiosperms (flowering plants) supports and sustains all terrestrial ecosystems on Earth.
“The mutual evolution between insects and plants is profound,” Johnson said. “If we don’t have that relationship, we’re in deep trouble.”
Johnson said one of the most “famous” insect-plant interactions is between monarch butterflies and milkweed.
According to saveourmonarchs.org, monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed. In fact, the monarch butterfly is also known as the “milk butterfly.” The milkweed plant provides all the nutrients the monarch caterpillar needs to transform into an adult butterfly.
“What makes this relationship with insects unique is the presence of chemical compounds in milkweed. They are called cardiac glycosides,” he said. They must have that combination to develop. If they don’t find it, they die, so it’s called a host plant – something that hosts that species, so it’s about insect reproduction. Insects are the foundation of all ecosystems.
Johnson’s presentation also discusses conservation, care and habitat creation techniques to increase native plant and pollinator biodiversity.
“I remember when I was learning to drive from the age of 16, until my 40s, you couldn’t drive your car in the city or especially in the country or anywhere because every time you didn’t wash your windshield you had bugs sprayed on your windshield,” Johnson said. time) I went to Austin and back and the windshield was just as good as when I got home – and because our insect count was down. The exception is dropped. This loss of housing, all these houses go up, build on fields and that field flowers and flowers support insects and those insects support us, so this chain, we are in. These plants are important to our insect community and everything else.
Many people don’t realize “the depth of the relationship between pollinators and angiosperms,” he said, and that the lack of insects will affect future generations.
“Plants that produce flowers represent one-sixth of the species on Earth. That’s not just plant species; that’s all we know, and that’s not all plants, but that’s about 12,000 of the world’s flowering plants and 86 percent of them are pollinated by insects,” he said. The issue is global. The relationship between pollinators and angiosperms supports and maintains all terrestrial ecosystems on Earth. The ones that don’t have an impact are the Arctic and the Antarctic, so all the other continents support the entire ecosystem.
Johnson earned a degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Texas A&M University. He is the former director of horticulture at the Texas Discovery Gardens in Fair Park and held the same position at the Dallas Zoo. He now runs his own business, Randy Johnson Organs. He also grows and sells native plants from his nurseries in Forney with his sister Julie.
“Education is the key to everything. I am a mentor. I have a native plant nursery. But first and foremost, I am a teacher. I’m really passionate about what I do and I love chatting with people and talking about it, you know, sharing my experience with them and helping them be more successful.
An optional walk through the Elizabeth Crockett Butterfly Garden at the Acton Nature Center will follow Johnson’s talk.
“It’s all about education,” Johnson added. People need to know something is there before they can participate.