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Pollinator Party on June 15 offers free, family-friendly fun

A bee on a yellow flower.
(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

The 2024 Pollinator Party on June 15 at Isle a la Cache will offer family-friendly activities including an obstacle course, food trucks, face painting, vendors and more.

Buzz on by to celebrate pollinators and the special role they play in our lives. The party will be hopping from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Isle a la Cache preserve in Romeoville.

This year’s celebration of pollinators will feature many new activities.

“Pollinator Party is amping up this year with a few new additions,” said Jen Guest, the facility supervisor at Isle a la Cache Museum. “We have a 33-foot inflatable Pollinator Challenge Course to test your pollination skills. Additionally, we have two food vendors joining the event. Visitors can cool off with some Kona Ice and have some delicious bites from the Tacos Maui food truck.”

The Nature Foundation of Will County will be on site selling a large selection of native plants. Wild Birds Unlimited will be selling pollinator-themed goods. And Forest Preserve staff will be selling nature-themed Forest Preserve merchandise, including T-shirts, hats, mugs, water bottles and magnets. The items also can be purchased online at OutsiderThreads.com.

Pollinator Party attendees can meet a beekeeper and view a live beehive at the event. Live bats and other creatures that play a role in pollination will be on display at the Incredible Bats station. And volunteers and peer organizations will be on hand to provide information on monarchs, hummingbirds, composting and more. 

“Be sure to pop by the picnic shelter for several make-and-take craft options and visit the face painting booth,” Guest said. “Also, Isle a la Cache's beautiful pollinator garden is blooming. Bring your camera for some great pictures of the plants. And don’t forget to take a quick hike around the island for some amazing views of the Des Plaines River.”

The event is free, but bringing cash or credit cards is recommended for the vendor and food area. 

Essential ingredient to life

The Forest Preserve District celebrates pollinators because they are essential to human survival. 

“Without pollinators, the human race and all of earth’s terrestrial ecosystems would not survive,” according to the U.S. Forest Service's website.

Almost 80% of the 1,400 crop plants grown around the world require pollination by animals including birds, bees, bats, moths, beetles and other animal pollinators. The Forest Service lists lemurs, honey possums, reptiles, slugs, gnats and true bugs as additional pollinators. 

“Visits from bees and other pollinators also result in larger, more flavorful fruits and higher crop yields,” the Forest Service explains. “In the United States alone, pollination of agricultural crops is valued at 10 billion dollars annually. Globally, pollination services are likely worth more than 3 trillion dollars.”

Pollinators also help the environment. The plants they pollinate produce oxygen, help purify water and prevent erosion, the Forest Service said.
 

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