Supporting pollinators through campus landscaping is one of many Bee Campus USA commitments that the University of North Texas subscribes to. The resources below provide guidance on why to select pollinator-friendly plants that assist with habitat creation and provide pollinators with nesting and food sources.
Visit the UNT Bee Campus USA webpage to learn more about how UNT is using native plants on campus to enhance pollinator habitat and educate the community about the importance of pollinators.
American Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
What do pollinators need for a healthy habitat?
Pollinating species need a variety of food sources, nesting sites, and other resources to flourish. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation provides 4 steps that we can take to provide healthy habitats for pollinators:
Pollinator Friendly Flowers
Pollinators depend on nectar and pollen from flowers for food. Growing flowers, shrubs, and trees that bloom at overlapping times of the year ensures that pollinators have access to food in all seasons. By creating habitats with native and adaptive plants, we help restore vital habitats that pollinators depend on.
Pink Evening Primrose (Oenathera speciosa)
Support pollinators at all life stages by providing nesting spaces in your backyard and garden. Patches of bare ground and piles of brush provide nesting space for bees. Another option is to purchase or build a bee nesting block. Host plants like milkweed provide a place for caterpillars to eat and grow, supporting moth and butterfly populations.
Avoid Using Pesticides
Chemicals used as pesticide, insecticide, and fungicide have negative effects on pollinators. Pesticides cause fatality, reproductive issues, and other health problems for bees, butterflies, and other insect pollinators. Herbicides and fungicides cause damage to flowers and other essential parts of pollinator supporting eco-systems. Fortunately, there are beneficial options for pest control that aid, rather than harm, pollinator populations.
Spread the Word
Telling others about the importance of pollinators and habitat protection is one of the best ways to support this cause. Talk with your neighbors and friends to encourage positive change in your community. To go one step further, you can take the Xerces Society Pollinator Pledge to help bring back the pollinators.
What is the difference between native, adaptive, and non-native plant species?
Native plant species are species that naturally exist in an ecological region and have evolved to thrive with the environmental conditions of their region over time. Native species are the foundation of healthy ecosystems and support our own life support systems.
American Basketflower (Centaurea americana)
Adaptive plant species are non-native to the area they are present in, meaning they have been introduced to an ecological region on purpose or by accident. They are introduced from areas with similar soil and climate conditions which is why they can thrive in an area they are not native to. These plants can grow and reproduce without human intervention.
Yellow Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)
Non-Native plant species are simply species that are introduced into a region different from where they originated from. They may be adaptive, or they may require human care in order to survive (many house plants fit this category). Many non-native species become invasive, causing problems for local ecosystems, but that is not always the case. Some non-native species can be beneficial to a local ecosystem, or they can be neutral.
Invasive plant species are generally non-natives that cause damage to local ecosystems by taking over habitats and causing negative changes to biodiversity. Some native plant species can become invasive if their growing range quickly expands, causing resource scarcity within local ecosystems.
Why is it important to landscape with native and adaptive plant species?
In the North Texas region, native and adaptive plant species are water efficient, drought and heat tolerant, and have low maintenance needs. Not only are these species environmentally sustainable, but they also display the beauty, diversity, and natural character of a region.
Native plants perform the best when they are surrounded by other native species because their interactions together support a balanced cycle of life. For instance, native pollinators of North Texas may specialize in feeding on native plants of North Texas, thus aiding in plant reproduction through their foraging behaviors that transfer pollen from plant to plant. Alternatively, pollinators that are not native to the region may require a different food source leaving the native plant without a pollinator.
Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha)
Want to participate in documenting native and adaptive plants as well as pollinators on campus and in your community?
Download iNaturalist! This application allows community members to document, track, identify, and learn about the various plants, insects, and wildlife you spot in your living spaces. iNaturalist allows you to record and identify species anywhere you go through photo, video, and sound observations. Once the species is identified through the app, you can learn if it is native, adaptive, non-native, invasive, and other information about your observation!
This iNaturalist Guide will help you get started with navigating and using the app.
UNT has multiple iNaturalist projects on campus:
University of North Texas Trees
University of North Texas Biodiversity
University of North Texas Birds
University of North Texas Pecan Creek Pollinative Prairie
University of North Texas Community Garden
Want more information on native and adaptive plants? Explore the links below.
General Information and Guidance
Native Plant Society of Texas
TAMU Department of Horticultural Sciences
Native Plant Seeds
Recommended Planting Lists
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Collections
Southern Plains Region Pollinator Plants – Xerces Society
Pollinator-Friendly Native Plant Lists – Xerces Society
North Texas Municipal Water District